Real estate listings for all the closed school buildings are now posted on the Philadelphia School District's website for interested buyers to peruse.
In a deal struck last week to get Philadelphia's schools a promised $50 million from the city, Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke finally came to terms on a plan to have the District sell the vacant properties with the aid of the city's Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.
The District now needs to raise $61 million from the sale of properties by the end of the fiscal year in order to keep its budget in balance. For fiscal 2014, it was already counting on $11 million from building sales. So, the Nutter-Clarke agreement to have the city's promised $50 million come from selling buildings with the city's help did not improve the District's fiscal outlook. Under the plan, the District doesn't get any new money, just help in getting its own money quicker and, possibly, a better value for the properties.
by Emma Jacobs for NewsWorks
Gov. Corbett stopped Thursday in Northeast Philadelphia as part of a statewide tour to kick off his re-election campaign.
"We don't need to make a change at the end of my term and go back to the policies of let's tax and let's tax and let's spend. We need to have strict discipline in our spending. And to allow you to keep the money in your pockets," he told a room of supporters at the American Legion Post in Fox Chase.
District names top academic official. Daily News
Corbett to Philly: Schools crisis not my fault. City Paper
The School District's charter schools office, faced with the task of monitoring and managing renewals for more than 80 charter schools, has been without a permanent executive director since the spring, when Doresah Ford-Bey left to take a job in Chicago.
Meanwhile, the District has been tussling with charter schools over renewals, and the General Assembly has been considering an overhaul of the charter school law.
Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn is overseeing the office while the District conducts a national search. Kihn said that despite the lack of an executive director, he thinks that, with six people, the office is adequately staffed.
by Catherine Gewertz for Education Week
The reading and mathematics achievement of the country’s 8th-grade students improved in the last two years, but the performance of 4th graders remains stubbornly mixed, with progress in math, but not in reading, according to national test data released Thursday.
The results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as “the nation’s report card,” show that 8th graders’ average score in math rose 1 point since 2011, the last time the test was given, and 3 points in reading on NAEP’s 500-point scale. Fourth graders gained 1 point in math; there was no statistically significant gain in reading.
Chartered bust. Daily News
Where is Philadelphia's Bill de Blasio? Daily News
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
As executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Education Law Center, David Sciarra advocates for an equal and adequate education for all New Jersey students.
Listen here as Sciarra discusses education-funding priorities in an extended interview with WHYY education reporter Kevin McCorry.
Sciarra outlines what he thinks New Jersey can teach Pennsylvania when it comes to implementing a "fair funding formula" that he says would best meet the needs of students across the state.
by Naveed Ahsan
Over the summer, the School District announced that it had canceled its annual high school fair to save money. Then, the Philadelphia School Partnership stepped up by offering to underwrite the event, while working with partner groups to plan it. The fair was resurrected.
Next Saturday, Nov. 16, students and parents can attend the Philly High School Fair, where they can gather information about admissions criteria, academic courses, extracurricular activities, and other special programs at more than 80 public, private, charter, and Catholic high schools throughout the city. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Armory at Drexel University, 33rd and Market Streets in University City.
At the fair, parents and students will learn about high school options for the 2014-15 school year, and questions can be directed to staff members of individual schools. Kristen Forbriger, PSP’s manager of communications and public affairs, said organizers expect a turnout of 5,000 to 8,000 attendees.
by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks
As the School District of Philadelphia is trying to sell off vacant properties, a university is kicking the tires on one building.
The now-closed William Penn High School on North Broad Street is at the edge of Temple University's campus. Spokesman Ray Betzner says Temple is talking with the School District about acquiring the property.
Letters: Reinstate school funding formula. Daily News
Archdiocese to freeze pensions for 8,500. Inquirer
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
Some education advocates are criticizing a Pennsylvania Senate proposal to revamp how public charter schools start, expand, and receive funding -- because it would remove a check on their growth.
A plan before a key legislative committee would allow charter schools to increase their enrollment without the approval of the school district that first authorized their charter.
Bad framework. Daily News
Charter schools are hurting urban public schools, Moody’s says. Washington Post
Pennsylvania’s education funding doesn’t redistribute wealth enough. Keystone Politics
Susan Corbett addresses education. Altoona Mirror
A meeting on "school report cards" will take place from 6 to 7:30 tonight at Baldi Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia. It is the fourth of five such meetings held by the District to gather community feedback for a new grading system for schools.
This summer the District announced plans for a new school report card to replace the school annual reports and faulty School Performance Index (SPI) scores that have served as measures of accountability. An earlier series of forums was scrapped after two contentious meetings where angry parents questioned the motives behind rolling out a new and costly accountability system during a time of tremendous financial and structural instability and the value of the project.
At the time, a District spokesman indicated that the reason for the cancellation was the unstructured, off-point nature of the discussions, saying the District was not seeking input on whether it should proceed with school report cards, but rather, what information they should contain.
About that $45m..$10m to charters? Inquirer
Not the best deal for city schools. Inquirer
Tell me your Philly schools story. City Paper
What do Philadelphia students want? Diane Ravitch's Blog
The School District is trying to find 4,000 students that it expected to enroll in September who didn't show up.
Many of those may have switched to charter schools. Superintendent William Hite has said that of the $45 million that the state released last month, about $10 million has been set aside in anticipation of higher charter payments, which are mandated based on enrollment.
If it turns out that more than 1,000 or so of the missing students turn up in charters, that $10 million figure could go higher and create a new budget hole. District officials say they still don't have a definitive count of charter enrollment citywide.
The District has sought for years to impose enrollment caps on charter schools to contain the rapid growth of its payouts to charters. Still, it would be possible for charter enrollment to increase sigificantly citywide without any charters breaking their agreements, because many are not enrolled up to their limit.