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City budget struggles begin today

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Mar 31, 2015 09:39 AM

As Philadelphia City Council begins budget hearings today, it appears that at least part of the spending blueprint proposed by Mayor Nutter is in trouble.

A number of City Council members, including Councilman Ed Neilson, see the mayor's request for a more than 9 percent property tax hike as being "dead on arrival" in Council.

Kenney releases plan to raise $105M for schools, bolster pre-K offerings citywide

By Brian Hickey and audio by Katie Colaneri for NewsWorks on Mar 30, 2015 04:58 PM

With a retired teacher at his side Monday in a University City pre-K, mayoral candidate Jim Kenney released an education-policy paper that aims to raise $105 million and fully fund early childhood education "for 3- and 4-year-old Philadelphians in need."

Teachers' union canvasses for Kenney

By John Corrigan for NewsWorks on Mar 30, 2015 11:43 AM

The chants echoed outside the Philadelphia High School for Girls as about 50 teachers, students, and local community organizers rallied on a chilly Saturday morning in support of mayoral candidate Jim Kenney.

City Council candidates' views on education: Paul Steinke

By the Notebook on Mar 30, 2015 10:58 AM

On May 19, Philadelphians will hit the polls to winnow the field of City Council at-large candidates. Out of 28 declared candidates, only seven will be elected in November (including at least two from a minority party). Each party can run five candidates in the general election. The Notebook reached out to the candidates, asking their opinions on the election's most gripping issue: education.

Where do candidates stand on the School Reform Commission's decision to approve five new charter school applications? Whose job is it to find more money for public schools, the city's or the District's? Absent an agreement with the teachers' union, do they think the SRC is right to pursue concessions through the courts? And finally, what ideas do they have for how the District can fix its financial problems?

Wolf has a vision for ending SRC, not a blueprint

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Mar 30, 2015 09:55 AM

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission is here to stay, at least for a little while longer.

Gov. Wolf campaigned on the idea that he'd like to replace the SRC with a locally elected body, but proponents of that plan shouldn't hold their breath.

District makes testing opt-out information more prominent

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 27, 2015 05:43 PM

School officials have responded to demands that they be more explicit in letting parents know that they have a right to opt out their children from taking standardized tests.

The steps are small, yet opt-out activists say that they are significant.

What it takes to run the School District's IT department

By Marcus McMcarthy for Technically Philly on Mar 27, 2015 10:39 AM

There’s a lot of color in Scott Fry’s life.

He’s the manager of network operations at the School District of Philadelphia, one of the country’s biggest school districts. And for all the budget battles and bureaucratic blockades, somebody has to keep the servers running, the Internet connected, and administrative IT services in place.

Paying for high-quality pre-K is cast as investment in Pa.'s future

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Mar 26, 2015 08:31 PM

One Wednesday morning at the Paley Early Learning Center in Northeast Philadelphia, 4-year-old Quincy was learning how to write the letter 'L'. Tracing arrows with his finger, he repeated after his teacher the different parts of the letter: a long line and a short line.

District budget, if funded, would add $130 million directly to schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 26, 2015 04:07 PM

The SRC adopted a "lump sum" budget Thursday that assumes that more than $264 million in new revenue from the city and state will be delivered. The funding has been proposed by Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter, but is by no means guaranteed.

The District needs to use $85 million of that just to keep services at current levels, according to Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski. It plans to use the rest to restore money to schools and embark on some of Superintendent William Hite's new initiatives.

SRC adopts nearly $2.9B 'lump sum' budget for 2015-16

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 26, 2015 03:01 PM

The School Reform Commission met Thursday afternoon to vote on a $2.86 billion "lump sum" budget for next school year that includes nearly $265 million in new revenue, based on proposals from Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter that would funnel more money to the District.

The budget shows that the District expects to end this fiscal year on June 30 with a $6.9 million surplus, which it plans to spend down next year.

Wolf challenges Pa. schools to cut overhead

By Sara Hoover for NewsWorks on Mar 26, 2015 09:46 AM

School districts across Pennsylvania have consistently made budget cuts for the last five years, and Gov. Wolf is challenging them to find more.

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