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GOP preparing a no-tax budget for Pa.

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jun 25, 2015 10:47 AM

The centerpiece of Gov. Wolf's Pennsylvania budget plan died its umpteenth death around a negotiating table this week.

Republican legislative leaders emerged from closed-door negotiations with the Democratic Wolf administration to announce that the governor's proposed severance tax on natural gas drillers is a non-negotiable no-go.

Education activists convene in Harrisburg; legislators react

By Michaela Ward on Jun 24, 2015 09:05 PM

Hundreds of educators, leaders of faith-based groups, teachers, parents, and students convened Tuesday in the Rotunda of the Capitol to show their support for a fair funding formula for Pennsylvania’s schools. Supporters of all ages and from various school districts waved signs and chanted about the need to increase education funding.

Pa. House advances bill aimed at weakening teacher seniority

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 24, 2015 04:25 PM

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would partially undo the state's seniority protections for teachers, while also allowing school districts to make layoffs for financial reasons – a practice that is now barred.

The bill would allow school districts to ignore seniority when deciding to lay off the small minority of the state's teachers who have below proficient ratings.

PFT files unfair labor practice charge about substitute outsourcing

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 24, 2015 01:38 PM

Updated, 10:45 p.m. with District comment

As it had vowed to do, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers filed charges of unfair labor practice Friday against the School District for its decision to outsource substitute teaching.

The PFT, which is seeking an expedited hearing before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, claims that, in two years of stalled contract negotiations, the District never brought up the issue. 

Among advocates, a subtle divide over Pa. school funding

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jun 24, 2015 11:22 AM

Church groups seeking a radical solution to the large funding disparities among school districts are taking their message to Pennsylvania's Capitol, even as other advocates continue to support an incremental approach to restoring education funding.

City to auction off property tax debts despite criticism

By Bill Hangley for NewsWorks on Jun 24, 2015 10:33 AM

Philadelphia officials are planning to go ahead Wednesday with an auction of city tax liens despite the concerns of housing advocates.

City officials hope to raise millions through the sale of about 1,400 liens, but critics say the auction could end up moving the properties into a new tax limbo.

Moonlight Movies returns to Mt. Airy with new emphasis on summer reading

By Ayesha Mir for NewsWorks on Jun 23, 2015 01:42 PM

This summer, Mount Airy returns with its line-up of free movie screenings, but with a new plan and double the fun.

In defense of Council's cursive writing campaign

By Blondell Reynolds Brown on Jun 23, 2015 11:19 AM

In response to the flurry of articles and social media messages I received regarding my defense of cursive writing in our schools, I, as vice chair of City Council’s Committee on Education, feel compelled to respond and share my reasons for caring so deeply about this issue. 

Far from it being a “bizarre fixation on irrelevant minutiae,” as one Philadelphia magazine article described it, cursive is central to the ability to write, and it has broad influence over many other parts of our children’s learning. That we have discarded the teaching of cursive writing without a public discussion is akin to discovering that we no longer find multiplication and division necessary in mathematics; we will not apologize for finding this discovery alarming. 

Judge: Pa. Education Department on the hook for 'curriculum deficiencies'

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 23, 2015 10:36 AM

Who is responsible when budget cuts require a school district to drop classes?

After budget cuts started in the 2011-2012 school year, parents in Philadelphia filed 825 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Their complaints ranged from overcrowding in classrooms, to cutting back on courses such as art and foreign languages, to a lack of guidance counselors in schools.

Pa. school districts make an 'educated guess' at next year's budget

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 22, 2015 05:05 PM

Making a budget before knowing how much money you have might seem like putting the cart before the horse. But that's exactly what many school districts in Pennsylvania are doing.

What is Act 1, and how did it affect property taxes and school funding?

By Allison Welton on Jun 22, 2015 04:56 PM

What is Act 1?

Act 1 is a property tax relief bill passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2006 and amended in 2011. It greatly expanded rebates and exemptions for senior citizens and provided rebates for other homeowners. It also set a cap on the amount that a school district can raise property taxes without first getting voter approval.

Audenried graduates its first class with all four years under Universal

By Greg Windle on Jun 22, 2015 11:12 AM

The girls were dressed in yellow and the boys in blue on June 17 as the 2015 graduating class of Universal Audenried Charter High School marched through the auditorium at the Irvine Auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

The 142 graduating seniors who donned the school’s colors are the first to have spent all four years at the school since it was converted in 2011 to a charter under the management of Universal Companies.

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