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Parents in North Philly hear pitches for and against charter conversion

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 18:35 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The stump speeches have begun, and the opinions are divided.

Parents at two North Philly elementary schools are fast approaching a vote that could forever alter the academic trajectory of their children.

Here the distrinction is not Democratic or Republican, but "District-run" or "charter."

City and School District give library cards to nearly 100K students

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:02 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

In a year that's seen budget cuts all but eradicate librarians from the Philadelphia School District's buildings, the District is now leaning even more heavily on the Free Library of Philadelphia to help make up for that shortfall.

The schools and the library have merged their databases and determined that roughly 98,000 of the School District's 136,000 students do not yet have cards for the city's public libraries. Based on that data merge, the library and the District will now distribute personalized library cards to every student without one.

Opposition forming to Pa. plan for scrapping school property taxes

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:34 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks

Pennsylvania's Senate could vote this spring on a proposal to eliminate school property taxes.

The sponsor of a Senate plan to replace school property taxes with higher sales and personal income levies says it has bipartisan backing -- and enough co-sponsors to pass a vote.

But opponents of the measure are mobilizing.

Pa. to audit Philadelphia School District

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 04/10/2014 - 17:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale met with Philadelphia schools Superintendent William Hite at District headquarters Thursday to announce that his office had begun poring through the District's multi-billion-dollar budget.

The audit will include accounts of the District's academic performance, financial stability, school safety, and administrative governance, DePasquale said.

Parents weigh prospect of turning schools over to charter operators

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 15:00 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Tara Magras has close ties with Edward T. Steel Elementary in Nicetown.

She lives a block from the school, volunteers there almost everyday, entrusts her three young children to the faculty and staff.

Although she concedes that the school's "test scores are low," the prospect of Steel becoming a charter school makes her uneasy.

"I don't have anything against charters," she said in an interview outside of the school. "It's just that I like the teachers here."

A lesson in empathy: Freire charter students 'Take Back the City'

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/02/2014 - 10:02 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Discussions about Philadelphia public schools often get bogged down in the seemingly never-ending back-and-forth over funding and the hyper-focus things that are easy to measure, such as standardized-test scores.

But for the 200,000-plus students attending public school in the city, these issues often take a back seat to the heartache and stress that many wrestle with in their personal lives.

District orders school police to stay out of Level 1 offenses

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 03/25/2014 - 16:56 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Philadelphia School District has directed school police officers to stop responding to calls related to Level 1 student conduct offenses. The proscribed violations range from "failure to follow classroom rules" to "truancy" to "verbal altercations" to "inappropriate touching/public displays of affection."

"These infractions are not criminal offenses; they are classroom/student management issues," wrote District Chief Inspector Carl W. Holmes to school administrators and school police in a memo dated March 10.

City tax collection doing better, but still struggles to catch up with deadbeats

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 15:42 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

City Council is reviewing why Philadelphia doesn't collect all the taxes it's owed.

Council members are taking an even closer look at taxes that could help the struggling public schools.

Principals ratify contract that includes big salary and health-care concessions

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Members of the union representing Philadelphia School District principals have ratified a new three-year contract that includes significant salary and health-care concessions.

The deal will save the District $20 million over the life of the agreement.

Of members who cast ballots, 83 percent voted to ratify.

The new contract will take most District administrators from a 12-month schedule to a 10-month schedule, cutting their base salaries by about 16 percent.

Camelot Schools drops pursuit of former Germantown High building

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 03/12/2014 - 10:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks

Camelot Schools is no longer looking to move three of its alternative education programs to Germantown High School's now-shuttered building.

Over the summer, officials with Camelot, a for-profit education company, worked toward putting Excel Academy North, Excel Academy South and Camelot Academy under one roof.

After gathering support from the neighborhood and local elected officials, the company appeared poised to ink a three-year lease with the School District of Philadelphia, a longtime partner.



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