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POSTED: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 4:18 PM

Although district officials say they hope to save up to $75 million in concessions from its unions to close a multi-million gap, it doesn't look too promising after yet another one of its union voted to turn down proposed amendments.

The union representing district maintenance workers is the latest union to strike down a tentative deal brokered by the district, a union official with Local 1201 confirmed today. In a vote of 849 to 594, members shot down the deal that included foregoing a 3 percent raise in January. 

Union president George Richezza declined to comment. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said the district will not stop communicating with all of the district's unions.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 11:58 AM

Beginning today, parents and guardians of children entering kindergarten, Head Start and Bright Futures will meet with their pupils' teachers today.

Parent-teacher conferences will last until Sept. 12, across the city. To find out the hours, contact your local school. These meet-and-greets are crucial for everyone involved. Parents, this is the best time to pass on to your student's teacher important information about your child’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses and any concerns that you may have. Read more tips from education.com about transitioning to kindergarten.

Kindergarten is such an exciting time for both parents and students. Gone are the days of perpetual play. It's a time of transition from home to the start of more formal schooling.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 6:00 AM

The summer of Arlene Ackerman-inspired discontent comes to a close Tuesday as students across Philadelphia return to school.

We want to hear about the first day back - whether you're a student, teacher, parent, principal or interested observer.

Are things going well? Are there big problems keeping things from running smoothly? Let us know in the comment section below or by sending an email to Dafney Tales at talesd@phillynews.com.

Daily News @ 6:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, September 2, 2011, 2:05 AM

Teachers returned to the classroom in the Philadelphia School District Thursday and students will join them there on Tuesday.

After a summer of chaos at district headquarters, including Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s departure and massive budget cuts, parents can only hope the school year gets off to a smooth start.

The People’s Paper wants to hear from teachers, parents and students about your preparations for the start of the school year and, more importantly, how things go once the first bell rings.

Daily News staff @ 2:05 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, September 1, 2011, 8:00 AM

Former superintendent Arlene Ackerman is done taking questions.

At least from reporters from the Daily News, or any other media outlet that she felt "maligned and disrespected" her during her three-year tenure as Philly's schools chief, she wrote to me on Monday in an email responding to a request for a sit-down.

After stepping down as superintendent last week, Ackerman said she made a "deliberate decision" to give interviews to just three media outlets that presented coverage of her that she considered "fair and balanced."

POSTED: Wednesday, August 31, 2011, 3:37 PM

Sayre High School may not be a Promise Academy this year, as originally planned under former super Arlene Ackerman's administration, but officials at the school are moving forward nonetheless.

The school, located at 58th and Walnut streets, in West Philadelphia, will launch a health professions program for this coming school year. The Dr. BLJ Jr. Sayre Health Center, a partnership between UPenn and the district, will provide direct care to uninsured and underserved, regardless of their ability to pay.

Tomorrow, officials will host a noon lunch for all Sayre High School staff in its newly renovated health suite.

POSTED: Monday, August 29, 2011, 3:20 PM

So you think Arlene Ackerman was being generous when she gave up money for the last year of her contract to give to Promise Academies?

Look at this guy. The Fresno Bee reported last week that a superintendent in Fresno, Calif., gave up more than 85 percent of his salary to help his cash-strapped district save money.

Larry Powell, 63, agreed to retire on Aug. 31 and sacrifice his annual salary of $235,000, as well as benefits worth more than $50,000.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 11:37 AM

In his first official appearance since being appointed schools chief, Acting Superintendent Leroy Nunery will hold a press briefing inside district headquarters at 3 p.m., on his plans to open schools for the 2011-12 school year. Chief Academics Officer Penny Nixon will join him.

What's not up for discussion, according to a district source, are questions about Ackerman, her $905,000 ($980,000 if you include health benefits) buyout package and the private, anonymous donors who contributed $405,000 to it.

Employees are anxious about what Sept. 6 will look like.

About this blog
Dafney Tales has been covering the School District of Philadelphia for the Daily News since 2009. She hopes this blog will be a forum where taxpayers – parents, educators and advocates - as well as students, can engage in a constructive conversation about education in the city. Send tips to talesd@phillynews.com. Reach Dafney at talesd@phillynews.com.

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