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Stories tagged: NewsWorks

Concerns and 'nuanced' case for merging two low-performing schools

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jul 24, 2015 10:03 AM

In the old Kensington High School building, two distinct schools have their own budgets, principals and classes. There's even a physical barrier, a kind of wall between the two spaces.

Essence Whiting, a rising sophomore at one of the schools, Kensington Urban Education Academy, said there are doors in the wall, but students stay on their own sides. She said she prefers Kensington Urban -- which has just over 300 students -- and relationships she has there over her old middle school, where the grades were three times as large.

Ethics Board fines teachers' union over contribution

By Dave Davies for NewsWorks on Jul 21, 2015 11:26 AM

The Philadelphia Board of Ethics has fined the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers $1,500 for contributions to City Council candidate Helen Gym in violation of the city's campaign finance law.

Political committees are permitted to give candidates for municipal office no more than $11,500 per year. The board found (and the PFT admitted) that the union's political committee gave Gym's campaign twice that, routing a second contribution through the committee of the American Federation of Teachers' Pennsylvania chapter.

Hints of a stop-gap budget in Pa., but no big breakthrough

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jul 14, 2015 09:34 AM

A top Republican lawmaker suggested Monday that Pennsylvania may need a short-term budget as a compromise on a full spending plan proves elusive.

"The Senate Republicans [and] the House Republicans don't want to see services for the most vulnerable in the commonwealth ... held up," said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) as he emerged from a private meeting with Gov. Wolf, a Democrat.

Wolf cagey on pension position as Pa. impasse drags on

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Jul 10, 2015 01:27 PM

Democratic Gov. Wolf of Pennsylvania isn't ruling out a switch to 401(k)-style retirement plans for future state and school employees.

Contemplating Philly's portfolio school model after a year of closures, openings

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 25, 2015 03:35 PM

Philadelphia's public education strategy rests heavily on offering a wide variety of schools and school operators from which families can choose. At first glance, having these rich options seems like a no-brainer.

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.

Silhouettes and stereotypes: KCAPA students explore identity through public art

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 17, 2015 10:01 AM

Sometimes art is a vehicle for sharing an idea with others. Other times, the act of making it shows you something about yourself.

More than 70 students at Kensington's High School for the Creative & Performing Arts have spent months working on a series of pieces -- poems, essays, videos, and photographs -- tackling the topic of teen identity.

Pitching plan for education funding, Wolf visits Upper Darby school

By Bill Hangley Jr. for NewsWorks on May 22, 2015 10:57 AM

Gov. Wolf says a vote for his education budget will be a vote for lower property taxes in Pennsylvania.

But while Republicans say they would welcome the tax relief, they're not sold on the governor's plan to increase spending overall.

State pension crisis: How did we get here?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on May 19, 2015 09:45 AM

Pick your favorite issue or cause in Pennsylvania: public education, services for the poor, tax breaks for businesses.

Chances are, there's going to be less money for any of these moving forward because the state's public employee pension bill is growing exponentially, with a current unfunded liability of $53 billion.

Waiting for fair-funding formula, Pa. school leaders assess disparities

By Sara Hoover for NewsWorks on May 1, 2015 02:07 PM

When it comes to disparities in school funding, Pennsylvania is leading the country.

Community members gathered Wednesday in the Springfield High School auditorium in Delaware County to hear about the imbalance that has wealthier districts getting more state funds than poorer ones.

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