Saturday, April 18, 2015

POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2015, 2:59 PM
The move, Philadelphia School District officials said, will save costs and, most importantly, improve a dismal “fill rate." (Bob Laramie / Staff Photographer)

The Philadelphia School District is outsourcing management of its substitute-teaching services, effectively privatizing hundreds of jobs now held by unionized workers.

The move, school officials said, will save costs and, most importantly, improve a dismal “fill rate."

Last year, just 64 percent of sub jobs were filled every day, impacting the education of thousands of children, said Naomi Wyatt, the district’s human-resources chief.

POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2015, 3:57 PM
Stacy Fields, 6, left, makes snow angels with her family on Alder Street in North Philadelphia on March 5, 2015, which turned out to be a snow day for the Philadelphia School District. ( DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer )

Philadelphia public school students will be sitting in classes for an extra day in June, officials said Friday.

The final day of school is now June 18 for students and June 19 for staff, Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard said. That's one day later than initially scheduled.

Snow closed schools three times this winter. Officials made the call to keep spring break in tact and add time in June, Gallard said.

POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2015, 5:29 PM
Philadelphia School District headquarters. (Bob Laramie / Staff Photographer)

The Philadelphia School District is projecting a budget of $2.9 billion next year — a forecast that banks on $264 million in new city and state money that is not assured.

The School Reform Commission was set to adopt a “lump sum” budget statement Thursday that would pump more money into city classrooms rocked in recent years by cuts. It would represent a 10 percent increase over last year’s spending plan.

But the plan relies on $159 million in new money from the state and $105 million from the city, sums that have been proposed by Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter, respectively, but which would have to be approved by skeptical lawmakers.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 11:03 AM
File photo: Then-Roxborough High principal Stephen Brandt greets a student during a class change April 2, 2013. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer ) (Clem Murray/Staff)

The Philadelphia School Partnership has awarded $375,000 to four city schools - two public, one charter and parochial - to spur turnarounds, pay for training, and create supports.

Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School is getting $150,000 for its turnaround planning, PSP said on Wednesday. Roxborough High will get $145,000 for a turnaround, Wissahickon Charter will receive $56,625 for leadership and teaching coaching, and the Workshop School, a project-based public school in West Philadelphia, is to get $23,200 for technology improvements and an academic intervention program.

To date, PSP has given out $35.8 million to city public, parochial, charter and independent schools. It says it has helped move 16,000 students into better educational opportunities.

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2015, 11:36 AM
Philadelphia school district headquarters. (Bob Laramie / Staff Photographer)

Education is the most important issue to Philadelphians - more important than crime, jobs and the economy, a new study released Monday by the Pew Charitable Trusts found.

City residents who had an opinion also overwhelmingly - by a four to one margin - favor eliminating the School Reform Commision, want an elected school board, and "have an extremely low opinion of the performance of the public school system."

Philadelphians are mixed on charters - they view them generally positively, but most back the idea of spending more money on traditional public schools instead of creating new charters.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 2:43 PM

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania’s system of funding education is broken, and the courts must order lawmakers to make it right, attorneys for school districts, parents and organizations who have sued the state told a panel of judges here Wednesday.

The suit - brought by school systems including the William Penn School District in Delaware county and parents including two from the Philadelphia School District - holds that Pennsylvania’s education funding system is “irrational and inequitable.”

Lawyers for the state told seven Commonwealth Court judges that Pennsylvania must only keep public schools open to meet its constitutional obligation.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 10:29 AM
File: Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, at start of press conference at district headquarters August 15, 2014. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) (DN)

Laying out his vision for the Philadelphia School District on Wednesday, William R. Hite Jr. said the school system must narrow its focus, think hard about equity, and even outsource some of the things it does now.

The superintendent wants to give full autonomy to the strongest district schools, and turn some struggling ones over to private providers who would run them on a contract basis.

The school system's main focus must be neighborhood schools, where the majority of its students are educated, Hite said.

POSTED: Monday, March 2, 2015, 2:05 PM
Bill Green said the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has been emboldened by his removal as SRC Chair. (Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer)

The Philadelphia School District and its largest union are back at the negotiating table, the gulf between the two sides has widened, officials said.

Bill Green, who was recently ousted as School Reform Commission chairman in favor of Marjorie Neff, said he believes the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has been emboldened by their strong ties to Gov. Wolf, and by his removal.

"Our negotiations with the PFT have gone backwards, not forward," Green said on Monday. "I'm afraid that they are getting encouragement for that intransigence by this action."

About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on Philly.com.

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.


Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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