One of Pennsylvania's most powerful state lawmakers says the actions of Philadelphia's City Council may put additional funding in jeopardy for the cash-strapped city School District.
Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) criticized City Council's decision not to hold a hearing on Mayor Nutter's plan to sell the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works.
Nutter's proposed deal with UIL Holdings Corp. of Connecticut would have privatized the utility for $1.86 billion. A portion of those proceeds would have been used to reduce the city's unfunded pension liability.
Last week, Philadelphia providers of afterschool programs such as tutoring and college prep were shaken up when their budgets were cut without warning.
Logging onto internal invoicing and attendance software, providers saw that their "slot levels," or the number of students they serve through Philadelphia's Department of Human Services funding, had dropped.
Pennsylvanians can now check out the broad strokes of their school districts' finances using a state website.
The Department of Education's PA School Performance site now displays school districts' general fund balances, tuition rates paid to charter schools, and average teacher salaries.
Now it's in the hands of the School Reform Commission.
On Wednesday, the team behind the proposed Philadelphia Career & Technical Academy bunched around a table inside a near-empty auditorium for the second and final public hearing on the group's charter school application. It's one of 40 such applications submitted to the Philadelphia School District.
The pieces are starting to fall into place in the legislature as the incoming administration prepares to tackle the volatile issue of education funding in Pennsylvania.
The state House and Senate GOP leaders have named the chairs of their education committees. Lawmakers expect the panels to see a lot of action in the coming legislative session, because Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has underlined education funding as his top priority upon entering office.
A new report finds that Pennsylvania ranks 41st nationally in early childhood education, lagging behind New Jersey, Delaware, 37 other states, and the District of Columbia.
This week, the nonprofit Education Week Research Center released its annual Quality Counts report on state-by-state school performance for grades K-12. For the first time, the report also looked at preschool and kindergarten numbers, using information from the U.S. Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Warm smiles and decorated hallways were a welcome surprise to realtors who expected a much different picture on a tour of neighborhood schools Wednesday afternoon.
"This exceeded my expectations," said one realtor.
The Mount Airy Schools Coalition and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors organized a public school tour in an effort to show local real estate agents that public schools can be a solid option for many families looking to move to the area despite the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing budget crisis.
In the wake of two charter schools closing abruptly last month, the Philadelphia School District entered a second round of hearings Monday on 40 proposed new charter schools.
Pennsylvania's standardized test scores have steadily declined over the last three years, according to the state Department of Education's filings with the federal government. The dropoff has been especially stark among some of the commonwealth's most at-risk students.