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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.

District presents Council with $180M in cuts they would like to restore

By Paul Socolar on May 24, 2011 10:45 AM

A list dated May 11 and provided to City Council by the School District outlines the $180 million in cuts they would like to be able to restore, headed by full-day kindergarten and transportation.

District presents its budget to City Council

By Paul Socolar on May 24, 2011 09:45 AM

There's a full house in the galleries at City Council today as the School District prepares to presents its budget and makes a pitch for additional support to help roll back some of its cuts and address its $629 million budget gap.

Notes from the news, May 24

By Anonymous on May 24, 2011 07:43 AM

notes from the news imageDistrict seeks funding from City Council, Nutter The Inquirer
The District is negotiating for $50-55 million from the city. District officials will testify about the deficit at City Council budget hearings today.

See also: Schools, Council in discu$$ions Daily News
Should Philadelphia give more money to help the schools? WHYY/NewsWorks
IOM goes to school It's Our Money blog

District plans five regional centers in place of accelerated schools The Notebook blog
The regional centers would offer full-day programs. Several high schools would also offer "twilight" evening programs for students at risk of dropping out.

That 'rainy day'? For Philadelphia schools, it's pouring right now Daily News (opinion)
PFT President Jerry Jordan writes that "education in Pennsylvania is moving in the right direction," but the major decrease in funding could change that.

See also: Squeezing schools - for the children's sake The Inquirer (opinion)
DN Editorial: School budget: Time to panic? Daily News

Pa. senator calls for state investigation of King charter award WHYY/NewsWorks
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi wants the state department of education to look into what happened with King's turnaround.

Expect politics aplenty as School District of Philadelphia moves to close schools PlanPhilly
A review of the political implications of implementing the facilities master plan.

For Philly schools' central office, news on layoffs soon Philly School Files blog
Employees and departments can expect to be notified the week of June 6.

Teacher Salaries and the Medieval Bloodletting of the Public Schools Third and State blog
Author Dave Eggers wrote a book to help educate taxpayers on the real cost of teachers.

New Pa. Education Chief Talks To Fox 29 Fox 29

'Sober School' Accredited, to Open in Sept. Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

Are You Ready for SLAM 2011? A Broad View blog

Notes from the Field- Promise Academies a Moral Obligation City School Stories

Budget, Vouchers, Testing, Billionaires Keystone State Education Coalition

In This Competition, High School Students Teach Lifesaving Skills PRNewswire

Don’t Trust Your Friends Redux 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

District plans five regional centers in place of accelerated schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 23, 2011 09:21 PM

More details are emerging about the decision to close 13 privately run accelerated schools for over-age and under-credited students and replace them with District-run programs.

For the approximately 1,800 students currently enrolled in one of these schools who will not have earned diplomas by this summer, the District plans to open five regional centers, according to spokesperson Elizabeth Childs. They will be located at E.S. Miller and the Alternative Education Center at Hunting Park, both of which have housed disciplinary schools; Benjamin Franklin and South Philadelphia High Schools; and the Bartram Annex.

Politics and the facilities master plan

By the Notebook on May 23, 2011 04:29 PM

by Patrick Kerkstra

It is not yet entirely clear how the School District of Philadelphia will handle the biggest downsizing in its history. As many as 50 facilities are slated to be sold off in coming years, but the district has no plans to identify them until October, and the policy governing those sales remains a work in progress.

Will the process be transparent? Will neighborhoods have a real say? Will politically favored developers and non-profits have an inside track? It is simply too soon to say.

Notes from the news, May 23

By Anonymous on May 23, 2011 07:47 AM

notes from the news imageDistrict to close accelerated schools The Notebook blog
The District says it can serve the same students in new programs offered at District schools.

See also: To save $25 million, Philly district to close 13 schools for at-risk students The Inquirer
Philly closing at-risk schools, cut remedial funds AP via San Antonio Express-News
District plans school closings Daily News

The warning signs were everywhere for the Philadelphia schools Daily News (opinion)
Phil Goldsmith evaluates the budget deficit and finds $252 million unrelated to stimulus or cuts in state funding.

High noon for the Philadelphia schools: How the district can help itself Daily News (opinion)
Helen Gym writes that "multitiered, short- and long-term approach toward addressing its finances."

See also: John Baer: On school spending - let's get sensible Daily News (opinion)
District budget meeting to focus on charters The Inquirer
Should the city give more money to the School District? (cont'd) It's Our Money blog

District pushing forward with Promise Academies despite limited money, data The Notebook blog
A look at the cost of Promise Academies and the information we have so far about their effectiveness.

Legislator proposes end to SRC, calling it a bust The Inquirer
The legislation State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop proposed has several cosponsors.

See also: Legislator: Abolish the SRC Philly School Files blog

Growth in: Tradition The Notebook blog
This is the 8th year of the Notebook's annual June event. Please join us!

Pennsylvania: Voucher Ground Zero Daily News
Senate Bill 1 has critics from all sides, including from fiscal conservatives, but it also has well-funded supporters.

See also: Debate rages over formula for funding ‘choice’ (With Video) Delco Times

Put out over city school's success The Inquirer
Penn Alexander is a popular elementary school, but it does not have enough room for all kindergarteners in its catchment.

EdCampPhilly: PD of the future Making the Grade blog
This weekend was the educator unconference EdCampPhilly, which brought dozens of teachers together to chat and skillshare.

In search of perfect school The Inquirer
Profile of Len Lipkin, founder of the Philly School Search website.

Teacher who video-recorded disruptive student suing over job loss The Inquirer

It’s The 27th Annual Celebration Of Black Writing CBS Philly

Mayor Nutter's chief of staff Armbrister stepping down The Inquirer

School report: Achievement gap narrowing, still exists Philadelphia Tribune

Saul Students Head to LOVE Park Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

A new documentary from students in an alternative education program examines why students drop out of school and what can be done to prevent it Philadelphia Sun

Pa. lawsuits: Whites told they can’t teach blacks Philadelphia Sun

“Pennsylvania’s Failing Public Schools” 2011 National AP Achievement List from the College Board Keystone State Education Coalition

What's on Your Summer To-Do List? 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

Growth in: Tradition

By the Notebook on May 20, 2011 05:10 PM

by Amy Dalton, event coordinator

This year is the eighth time the Notebook community has come together in June to celebrate and generate critical financial support.

In 2005, I worked on the second Notebook June event. This was the year after the Notebook’s 10th anniversary celebration, and our goal that year was to transition from a one-time bash to an established, annual affair. And we succeeded. In the years since, the tradition has blossomed, with lots of creative and fun features emerging along the way.

District to close accelerated schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 20, 2011 02:43 PM

UPDATED: The School District plans to close all 13 of its privately run accelerated schools designed to help dropouts and near-dropouts get a diploma.

The move is designed to save money and help close a $629 million budget gap.

A statement released through the District's office of communications said it can run programs within existing schools for $24 million less, serve 500 more students, and give them "the same level of service."

"In order to provide the students in these programs with a quality education, the School District will operate accelerated programs within current School District facilities," the statement said. "These accelerated schools will have separate administration and teachers from the schools in which they are housed."

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