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Notes from the news, May 31

By Anonymous on May 31, 2011 08:05 AM

notes from the news imagePhiladelphia School Reform Commission To Adopt Budget, Wait For Government Cash CBS Philly
The SRC is scheduled to vote on the budget today at 5 p.m.

See also: Success of N.J. school-funding suit gives Philadelphia Council an idea: Sue Pa. Daily News
City school aid could lead to Pa. cash, Nutter told The Inquirer
Tweet All About It: The School District Budget Hearings, Told in Tweets Chestnut Hill Patch

School district, SEPTA near deal to save free transit passes for students The Inquirer
SEPTA and the District are discussing how to deal with a gap in when the District purchases TransPasses and when it is reimbursed for them.

See also: School District's plan to cut student passes appears to be much ado about nothing PlanPhilly
School District and Septa Talk Cuts Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
School District, SEPTA 'Optimistic' TransPasses Can Be Saved Mt. Airy Patch

Philadelphia School District's accounting procedures questioned in controller's report The Inquirer
The City Controller's office says it found serious accounting errors, but the District said the errors are small and have no effect on the budget situation.

See also: School district downplays arrival of IRS auditors; elected officials have mixed reactions Daily News
IRS Performs ‘Routine’ Audit On Philadelphia School District CBS Philly
Is SDP Getting Schooled by the IRS? Taxgirl Forbes blog

Is the District padding its books on certain 440 positions? The Notebook blog
The District has talked a lot about 50 percent cuts to central office, but is that figure accurate?

'Rightsizing' Philadelphia's high schools The Notebook blog
How will the District achieve its goal of high schools serving 1,000-1,200 students?

Dom Giordano's Pennsylvania school report card Daily News (opinion)
Superintendent Ackerman gets a C-. Gov. Rendell and Gov. Corbett get Bs. Mayor Nutter gets the only A.

Growth in: Impact The Notebook blog
The Notebook has accomplished a lot in the past year and we hope you will celebrate it with us in a week!

Empty words don't fill classrooms with learning WHYY/NewsWorks opinion
But raising the property tax in Philadelphia will help pay for needed school services.

Teachers give a gold star to a free-for-all education camp The Inquirer
The EdCampPhilly unconference showcased a different type of professional development.

This is a tragedy Philly School Files
A story from Georgia about a student who graduated from high school without basic skills.

Multi-Cultural Academy teachers vote for union The Inquirer

Third and State This Week: Teacher Salaries, Legislative Updates & Paid Sick Leave in Philadelphia Third and State blog

Former safe-schools advocates see a need for the post, which is still unstaffed The Inquirer

Inquirer Editorial: Young families don't stay The Inquirer

Live chat on Philly schools June 1 Philly School Files

Shawmont Student Enjoy Annual Fair Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

Student competition emphasizes unique skills WHYY/NewsWorks

Philadelphia High School Students Recognized For Perfect Attendance CBS Philly

Calling all students diagnosed with ADHD – there’s a scholarship for you! Philadelphia Sun

Frankford High School The Frankford Gazette

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

Growth in: Impact

By the Notebook on May 27, 2011 06:19 PM

Celebrating our accomplishments

by Jolley Bruce Christman, leadership board member


On June 7, the Notebook family will come together again at our annual “Turning the Page for Change” celebration. It’s always a great party and I hope you’ll be able to make it. I’ve been thinking some about the Notebook’s accomplishments since we partied last June, and I decided to start a list. It’s not complete but it’s what's on my mind — and I hope you’ll add to it.

Notebook accomplishments 2010-11:

'Rightsizing' Philadelphia's high schools

By Benjamin Herold on May 27, 2011 04:14 PM

District officials set off alarm bells across the city last month when they announced as part of their facilities master planning process that the new recommended student enrollment for high schools will be between 1,000 and 1,200 students.

With only five of the District’s 61 high schools currently falling within that range, the announcement seemed to portend sweeping changes – and perhaps the end of Philadelphia’s small high schools.

Is the District padding its books on certain 440 positions?

By Helen Gym on May 27, 2011 03:13 PM

As I was slogging through the District’s 400-plus page budget book, I was struck by the significant increases and expansions within various central office administration budgets. (All references are to the District's FY2011-12 Consolidated Budget).

Consider: The Associate Superintendent for Academic Support 

Notes from the news, May 27

By Anonymous on May 27, 2011 08:04 AM

notes from the news imageNutter's office offers tough answers on school funding The Inquirer
A letter from Nutter's chief of staff details some of the areas that could be cut including snow removal, literacy programs, and canceling a police academy class.

See also: How will Mayor Nutter fulfill his vow to rescue schools? The Inquirer
DN Editorial: Welcome to the $100 Million store Daily News
Elmer Smith: Mayor Nutter's simple sermon: Aiding school district = tax hike Daily News
Council's search for milk money under way in Philly Daily News
Officials consider options in School District budget crisis Philadelphia Tribune
Nutter grapples with school deficit, Council cool to tax hike WHYY/NewsWorks

Clarke wants city to sue Corbett over school funding Daily News
Councilman Clarke wants City Council's Law Department to sue over the  constitutionality of the level of public education funding.

IRS opens detailed audit into Phila. School District's financial practices The Inquirer
The audit is looking at a wide variety of financial details. The District's payroll director was dismissed Wednesday.

SEPTA board approves operating budget The Inquirer
SEPTA said it will work with the District to continue to provide transportation to students.

See also: School district to meet with SEPTA about cuts to transportation The Hall Monitor blog

Annette John-Hall: Philly students' reality captured on film The Inquirer
Students from Arise Academy Charter worked with Art Sanctuary to produce a documentary.

Nutter, Ackerman Enlist Philadelphia Church Leaders In Fight For More School Funding CBS Philly
They spoke to a congregational meeting of church leaders about the budget situation and the need for their support.

See also: Ackerman, Nutter to attend "Save Our Schools" rally in West Philadelphia WHYY/NewsWorks
Philly clergy protest education cuts, ask for aid AP via Stamford Advocate

What's Philly's 'yes agenda' for education? The Notebook blog
Pedro Noguera called on activists to create a positive, proactive "yes agenda" for education reform.

Pa. to compete in 3rd round of Race to the Top The Hall Monitor blog
In the third round states can apply for $10-50 million grants.

The Book Is Coming: What School Administrators Need to Know about Digital Technologies and Social Media Practical Theory blog

NAS: “no positive effect” from testing Keystone State Education Coalition

Fattah and AmeriCorps Announce City Year Grants to Serve Philadelphia Schools Chestnut Hill Patch

District's Expenditure 'Reprehensible' PFT blog

Philly Media Specialist Fights for a Certified Librarian in Every School School Library Journal

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Helen Gym's City Council testimony

By Helen Gym on May 27, 2011 07:57 AM

I testified at the May 25 budget hearing for public comment. Here is the text of my remarks:

What's Philly's 'yes agenda' for education?

By Anonymous on May 26, 2011 01:30 PM

This week the Communities for Public Education Reform convening took place just outside of Washington, D.C. A lot of amazing organizers from Philly and across the country gathered for an exciting learning and networking opportunity.

At Monday's lunch plenary Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed several hot topics in education reform today. Pedro Noguera followed up by laying out three main threads in the current education debate:

Notes from the news, May 26

By Anonymous on May 26, 2011 08:03 AM

notes from the news imagePublic school community urges Council to increase district's funding The Inquirer
Dozens of people testified before Council, and students protested in support of accelerated schools outside of City Hall. 

See also: Public asks Council for more $ for schools The Notebook blog
Philadelphia parents, students plead for city's help with school budget WHYY/NewsWorks
Public Testimony Adds to Case for Council to Aid School District
Chestnut Hill Patch
Parents, Activists Plead With City Council For More School Money Mt. Airy Patch
City Hears Pleas For More School Funds Fox 29
City Leaders Seek Alternative Solutions to Close School District’s Deficit PhillyNow blog
Parents, students weigh in on Phila. school budget 6 ABC
Schools Ask Philly For At Least $75M Fox 29
My Testimony To City Council Practical Theory blog
Saving the Accelerated Schools The Workshop Blog

Wanted: A safe-schools advocate to make city schools safer Daily News (opinion)
Debra Weiner writes that the advocate should make sure both victims and offenders get the help they need and monitor the District's reporting of incidents.

Building on dreams of college The Notebook
The Summer edition is focused on college-going, and includes student perspectives and data on Philly grads' college enrollment and attainment.

Inquirer Editorial: Crisis can be useful The Inquirer
Will this budget crisis breed opportunity? It could be a chance to have a discussion about taxing and spending.

See also: It's easier to defend Ackerman, as a person, than a $629 million budget gap Philadelphia City Paper
Notes from the Field- Lead by Example Dr. Ackerman City School Stories
The Age of Austerity Metropolis

Introducing our new blogger: Ryan Bowers The Notebook blog
Bowers looks forward to writing about the school choices parents face.

School District of Philadelphia begins registering students for Summer Learning And More (SLAM) UC Review

District officials to hold last budget meeting with public The Hall Monitor blog

Education Law Center Analysis of House Bill 1326 and Opposition to Repeal of Certain Act 1 Exceptions Keystone State Education Coalition

Public Elementary Schools Fair for Center City/SOS [EVENTS] Philly School Search

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Parents loud and clear at Council budget hearing

By Deborah Russell... on May 26, 2011 01:50 AM

You could hear the crowd all the way in North Jersey from yesterday’s City Council hearing on the District’s 2011-12 budget.

Hundreds of people and about 130 speakers - among them many parents - packed into Council chambers asking the mayor and councilmembers to figure out a way to put back $600 million dollars set to disappear in part, due to Harrisburg’s state budget cuts.

Public asks Council for more $ for schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 25, 2011 02:00 PM

About 130 speakers crowded City Council chambers Wednesday, spilling into the upstairs gallery, most to plead for Council's help to fully stave off drastic cuts in the city's public schools.

No fewer than 15 clergy members of various faiths, led off the hearing. A rotating group of council members attended, with about five or six present at any one time. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, chair of the Education Committee, presided. 

Introducing our new blogger: Ryan Bowers

By Ryan Bowers on May 25, 2011 01:41 PM

First, I’d like to acknowledge what an honor it is to join the Notebook’s blogging community. I’m looking forward to making a small contribution to the growing debate around school choice, a topic of importance to me both personally and professionally.

I’m starting to feel the weight of school choice at home as my wife and I are faced with figuring out where we’ll send our 4½-year-old son to kindergarten next year. I'm taking a hard look at our neighborhood school, as well other options that might be on the table.

Notes from the news, May 25

By Anonymous on May 25, 2011 08:46 AM

notes from the news imageMixed reaction to District request in Council The Notebook blog
The District presented the budget to Council, fielded questions, and asked for tens of millions of dollars for key services.

See also: District presents Council with $180M in cuts they would like to restore The Notebook blog
Ackerman asks Council for up to $110 million to help fill budget gap Daily News
School District Begs Council to Aid Its Financial Woes [VIDEO] PhillyNow blog
Phila. schools ask City Council for millions 6 ABC
Philadelphia schools ask City Council to help patch hole in budget WHYY/NewsWorks
Philadelphia School District Wants Tens Of Millions More From City
CBS Philly
Philadelphia School District To Present Budget To City Council CBS Philly
Philly schools ask city for at least $75M more AP via Beaver County Times
Donna Reed Miller Expresses Concern for School Transportation Issues Chestnut Hill Patch
District presents its budget to City Council The Notebook blog
School District Officials Ask City For More Money Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Parents United for Public Education: Questions Council ought to ask the District The Notebook blog
How we run our schools: the budget fight within the budget fight Young Philly Politics

Nutter backs school district's request for $110 million more from city The Inquirer
Mayor Nutter held a press conference where he offered his support for the District's request for funds, but did not have details on where that money would come from.

See also: Nutter says he will find funds to lessen cuts The Notebook blog

Council hearing, round 2: public weighs in Philly School Files blog
Today's council hearing will start at 1 p.m. More than 70 community members are scheduled to testify.

Probe clearing Ackerman cost $287,629 The Inquirer
The District divulged the cost of an inquiry into Superintendent Ackerman's role into last fall's contracting controversy.

A campaign against illegal dog fighting is being waged by 5th graders WHYY/NewsWorks
Students at A.B. Day School working with Need In Deed created the service-learning project.

Stanton students embrace the arts Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key looks at two arts programs and a community service project.

See also: Special projects bring the arts to Baldi students  Philadelphia Tribune
Garden clean-up makes science fun for McCall kids
Philadelphia Tribune

Making Sense of Where Tax Dollars Go Taxgirl Forbes blog
A Philadelphia public school parent describes the tax picture in Pennsylvania.

Safe Schools Advocate Bill Sails Through Pa. House CBS Philly
The bill would reinstate the Office of the Safe Schools Advocate.

Letters: Anti-school voucher lobbyists are protecting their income streams Daily News

Tiger surprises Phila. charter school The Inquirer

Final Exam Study Tips A Broad View blog

Faith-Based Leaders Rally to Save Public Education Funding A Broad View blog

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Nutter says he will find funds to lessen cuts

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 24, 2011 05:15 PM

Mayor Michael Nutter said that he is committed to raising between $70 million and $100 million for the School District’s budget so it can restore full-day kindergarten, student transportation, keep class size small, and maintain alternative education options for students who don’t make it in the traditional system.

Parents United for Public Education: Questions Council ought to ask the District

By Helen Gym on May 24, 2011 04:18 PM

In my spare time, I'm lucky to work with an amazing group of parents citywide who've formed and re-ignited Parents United for Public Education, an all-volunteer, independent collective of parents who believe in quality schools and responsible funding.

As we've watched this budget battle unfold - and we've seen tactics like this unveiled in previous years with this administration - I'm feeling more and more that the District has unfairly put up essential services to schools in order to avoid what ought to be pointed questions about their priorities, spending practices and managerial and financial oversight.

Parents United distributed a memo to City Council members today to encourage a forum for these questions, one of the few places where District officials may actually have to answer questions rather than sit stonily or obfuscate. In the interest of openness, I am publishing Parents United's memo to Council below. We're interested in your reaction.

Mixed reaction to District request in Council

By Paul Socolar on May 24, 2011 01:45 PM

[Updated, 6:30 p.m.] City Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr., was quick to ask District officials the question: "How much money are you asking for?"

The galleries in City Council chambers burst into applause. It was an indication that some in Council were taking seriously the District's request for additional funds.

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