The fallout of the Philadelphia School District’s dismal financial situation continues: 17 central-office employees who provide support to schools were issued layoff notices on Friday.
Overall, 81 positions were eliminated, said Fernando Gallard, spokesman for the school system, but among those were 64 vacant jobs.
The laid-off workers come mostly from the district’s facilities and capital improvements offices. One employee from the Office of Family and Community Engagment was also affected.
The sale of William Penn High School to Temple University, blocked temporarily by a community group's legal action, will now go through, officials said Friday.
Inez Henderson-Purnell, president of the WIlliam Penn Development Coalition, said the group withdrew action against the transfer of the deed for William Penn, the sprawling school complex on North Broad Street. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had denied the group's request for injunctive relief.
"We fought the good fight," Henderson-Purnell said in a statement.
Steve Flemming's third-grade classroom at the J.B. Kelly School hasn't been painted for 10 years. He has no bulletin boards.
So he painted the room himself. And built a makeshift bulletin board. And then he rushed to a press conference called Thursday by State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) to talk about how rough things were last year, and how they could be worse this coming school year.
Philadelphia's public schools will open on time, Superintendent William R. Hite said Friday.
To not open on Sept. 8 as scheduled "punishes students for the failure of adults," Hite said. He said
He said assurances from politicians that the cigarette tax the city wants to help fund schools is priority one helped him make the decision to open on time. The disruption to families would have been too great, and opening late could cause more students to flee to charters.
Have an idea for overhauling a city public school? The Philadelphia School District is listening.
Officials on Tuesday announced the “School Redesign Intitiave,” inviting teachers, principals, universities and community organizations to propose and execute turnarounds at city public schools.
It’s a shift for a district that has relied heavily on charter conversions to reform failing schools.
More than 300 Philadelphia School District employees will receive layoff notices on Thursday and Friday.
Most of those affected are noon-time aides and special education classroom assistants. No teachers appear to be affected.
Philadelphia School District officials confirmed the layoffs, and said that the moves were unrelated to the stalled cigarette tax legislation that has imperiled $45 million in state funding.
Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday that if the state legislature does not pass the cigarette tax by Aug. 15, he would have to begin laying off employees and consider not opening school on time.
"There's a lot of uncertainty around what our next move is," Hite told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
The state Senate passed an amended cigarette tax bill this week, but the legislation still requires House approval. The House is out on summer recess and won't return until a special session called for August 4. Even then, passage is not assured.
Kristen GrahamWendell Pritchett has resigned from the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, and Mayor Nutter has moved quickly to name a replacement - Marjorie Neff, who just retired as principal of Masterman, an elite district magnet school.
Pritchett, an academic who was until recently the chancellor of Rutgers University-Camden, was the longest-serving member of the SRC. Pritchett recently became interim dean of the University of Pennsylvania law school, and is a former Nutter deputy chief of staff.
Nutter, in a statement, hailed Pritchett.