Turnover continues to strike the ranks of Superintendent William Hite's senior staff at a time when the District could use some consistency.
Two senior-level staffers in the academic office recently left their posts at 440 N. Broad St. The cadre of assistant superintendents has also been hit by departures; five of the eight positions supervising principals and directing the District's regional school networks are in transition.
On Tuesday, the District released data showing all its 18,561 employees and their salaries, reflecting its recent personnel moves.
After a seesaw week of negotiations in Harrisburg, House legislators late Wednesday night passed, 119-80, an amended bill that allows Philadelphia to add a $2 per-pack tax on cigarettes to help fund the city's schools. The entire Philadelphia delegation supported the bill.
If approved by the Senate and Gov. Corbett, who have both supported the tax, the School District stands to gain as much as $45 million in the first year and about $80 million the year after, according to estimates. The tax should narrow the District's substantial 2014-15 budget gap to less than $40 million. Its approval was hailed as a victory by both elected officials and advocates for more school funding.
A charter school and two Catholic elementary schools will receive three grants totaling $343,600, the Philadelphia School Partnership announced Wednesday.
St. Thomas Aquinas School in South Philadelphia and St. Helena-Incarnation School in Olney will receive $275,000 in turnaround grants to help improve the schools' academics and long-term financial footing. The schools are part of the Independence Mission Schools network. The nonprofit last year took over running 13 formerly parish and interparochial schools, most of which had seen years of declining enrollment.
The recent death of Andrew Jackson Elementary student Sebastian Gerena, 7, from a congenital heart condition has placed a spotlight on a cash-poor Philadelphia School District's capacity to respond to medical emergencies.
No school nurse was on duty at the time, and attention has turned to the District's policies and procedures for emergencies and whether they were carried out.
State guidelines for medical emergencies call for protocols to be in place for when situations that can be "reasonably anticipated" arise. That includes "identifying specially trained and designated individuals who, in addition to the nurse, will render first aid."
A 1st grader at Andrew Jackson Elementary died Wednesday, after collapsing inside the school, where no nurse was on duty.
Late in the afternoon, the 7-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where doctors have not been able to determine a cause of death, according to various news reports.