Periodically, city officials shine a spotlight on the condition of school buildings in the School District of Philadelphia. Not for the first time, what they saw isn't pretty.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz's office visited 20 schools between October and March. Detailed in a subsequent report out Wednesday, his inspectors found electrical hazards, water damage, and permanently clogged toilets in the sample of schools.
According to the report, some problems showed up in a lot of the schools:
Commonwealth Court has ruled that the state cannot dismiss complaints about inadequate conditions in Philadelphia District schools that opened and operated under a "doomsday budget" adopted in 2013, if they pertain to curriculum flaws.
Several school districts, parents, and groups have taken a lawsuit alleging Pennsylvania's school funding system to be unconstitutional to the state Supreme Court.
An appeal filed Wednesday by the plaintiffs seeks to force the state's highest court to hear a case dismissed last month by Commonwealth Court. In that decision, the court ruled, as it has in prior lawsuits, that the question of school funding and what level of it is constitutional is a matter for the state legislature to decide.
Superintendent William Hite sought Wednesday to dissuade legislators from passing a bill that would create an "achievement school district" to turn around the state's struggling schools.
Testifying in front of the Senate's education committee, Hite called the draft of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a blow to Philadelphia.
"Senate Bill 6 would create an unfunded turnaround mandate, resulting in the stripping out of supports and programs from schools left under local district control," he said.