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How are charter schools funded in Pa.?

By Dan Hardy on Apr 24, 2015 10:03 AM

What makes charter school funding a point of contention?

With education funds scarce in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the debate over how charter schools get their money has never been more polarized.

The stakes are huge: In the 2013-14 school year, 176 charter schools educated 129,000 students statewide, at a cost to Pennsylvania school districts of more than $1.2 billion.

Scholarships funded through tax credits lift some, raise questions for others

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Apr 24, 2015 09:42 AM

One night in March, Kristen Lewis was working her cell phone as one of about 50 volunteers for the Children's Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia. They were calling families to let them know they had won a scholarship to take their kids out of low-performing public schools and put them in private or religious schooling.

In between calls, she got a call from a blocked number.

Lawmaker wants chronically underperforming schools under Pa. control

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Apr 23, 2015 07:09 PM

There's a general rule in Harrisburg: Republican leaders don't authorize more education spending without demanding stricter accountability measures.

Case in point: On the heels of Gov. Wolf's proposal to dramatically increase state aid for public schools, State Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) will soon introduce a plan to accelerate the transformation of chronic underperformers.

How much does Pa. spend on public schools, and how are costs shared?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 22, 2015 03:35 PM

Q. How much does Pennsylvania spend on K-12 public education compared to other states?

In 2012, Pennsylvania spent $26.5 billion on K-12 education. Only five other states — California, New York, Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey— spent more.

On a per-student basis, Pennsylvania ranked 13th among the states. In 2012, Pennsylvania spent $13,653 per student compared to a national average of $11,735. Vermont came out on top with $18,882 per student, and Utah ranked last with $6,688 per student.

City Council candidates' views on education: Allan Domb

By the Notebook on Apr 22, 2015 12:14 PM

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?

Missed connection: Kenney's website falters in schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Apr 22, 2015 10:07 AM

Philadelphia teachers may have already cast their lot with Jim Kenney in this year's mayoral race, but they are having serious issues connecting with the candidate.

Not Jim Kenney, the man, actually, but his website.

City Council candidates' views on education: Sherrie Cohen

By the Notebook on Apr 20, 2015 03:43 PM

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?

Philadelphia's rejected charter schools beginning to resubmit applications

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Apr 20, 2015 09:46 AM

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission already rejected 34 out of 39 charter school applications this year.

But any rejected charter can put its application back on the table, according to Pennsylvania charter law.

Success of immigrant communities starts with neighborhood school support

By Dai Lai Htoo for NewsWorks on Apr 17, 2015 03:41 PM

Since I came to South Philadelphia in 2008, the demographics of my neighborhood have changed constantly. I see American neighbors move out because of the increase in property prices. Then I see new immigrant refugees move in with the support of a resettlement agency that pays their rent for a few months. After that time, they move out because they need to stand on their own, and they need to look for cheaper rent.

My newest neighbors are refugees from Burma, like me, and refugees from Nepal who have the same refugee experiences as us. We also have neighbors who are Chinese American, African American, Latino, and White.

SRC approves $55 million tax incentive for Gallery mall redevelopment

By Jared Brey for PlanPhilly on Apr 17, 2015 09:35 AM

Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to approve a tax-increment financing district for the area surrounding the Gallery mall on East Market Street that would save the mall’s owners $55 million in property taxes over 20 years.

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