Students at several Philadelphia public high schools walked out of class today.
A school district official confirmed the walkout. Students from Ben Franklin, Mastbaum, South Philadelphia, Furness, Dobbins, School of the Future, Kensington CAPA, Overbrook and Penn Treaty high schools walked out around noon.
As many as 600 students walked out, district spokesman Fernando Gallard said.
Tonight's strategy, policy and planning (read: non-voting) School Reform Commission meeting has a lofty title: "Options for Increasing Students' Access to Better Schools." Hard to argue with that concept, right? All kids deserve top-notch schools. Let's figure out how to make that happen, or at least how to begin to make that happen.
Not everyone agrees on how to get to the goal, however.
At the meeting, a panel will discuss four options: developing new schools, replicating good schools, Renaissance schools (a district process that includes handing over low-performing district schools to charters) and improving district schools.
Today, the Daily News' Regina Medina tells us how the Philadelphia School District may be violating the Sunshine Law by not bringing before the public certain key hires.
Most recently, the district hired David Hardy as chief academic support officer at a $160,000 annual salary, but never brought the matter before the School Reform Commission, as state Sunshine Act dictates. But Hardy's hire wasn't the only one where public scrutiny was skipped over. The Daily News reviewed SRC records for a year, and found that several other top employees were hired without formal review by the commission and the public. They included Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn ($210,000), Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski ($175,000), Sophie Bryan, who worked in the charter school office and now in the superintendent's office ($100,000), Chief Operating Officer Fran Burns ($175,000) and Chief Human Resources Officer Naomi Wyatt ($180,000).
The district said it would review its process, and said a computer error may have led to the error.
The $45 million in state money released by Gov. Corbett last month restored 80 full-time counseling positions.
But it also led to 40 additional assistant principals, teachers, secretaries and other workers being called back, as well.
Here's a breakdown of which positions were restored, from an email Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. sent on Friday to district principals:
So how is the Philadelphia School District spending the $45 million released by the governor last month?
Some of the money is going to restore employees. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said that 80 counselors will be recalled on Monday. An unspecified number of assistant principals, secretaries, school support aides, and school operations officers will also be recalled.
Actor/comedian/Philly guy Kevin Hart is giving back to his hometown.
Hart will donate 300 computers to the Philadelphia School district and 200 to city recreation centers, Mayor Nutter's office announced today.
The mayor and Hart will tour some of the receiving schools in November.
Troy Graham and Kristen Graham
Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke today announced the mayor has signed a bill transferring $50 million to the Philadelphia School District.
The district keeps ownership of its school buildings, but will work with the Philadelphia Industrical Development Corporation to sell them. The buildings will go up for sale next week.
The deal, announced today, ends a stalemate between Nutter and Clarke over how to get the district the extra $50 million it needed to open schools on time. Nutter had wanted to borrow the money against future sales tax collections.
In the "Who Should Replace Pedro Ramos on the SRC" department, more names have surfaced.
A coalition including the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Youth United for Change, and Action United has sent Gov. Corbett a letter with their choices: Penn Graduate School of Education professor Torch Lytle, a former Philadelphia School District administrator and Trenton superintendent; and Rev. Alyn Waller, senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.
The groups had this to say: