A group of Philadelphia School District parents filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the state education department has violated its legal obligation to investigate claims of "massive curriculum deficiencies" in city schools.
The group, including seven district parents and the group Parents United for Public Education, filed the suit in Commonwealth Court. Attorneys from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia are representing the parents.
Last school year, parents submitted 825 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on issues ranging from overcrowding to "squalid and insufficient toilet facilities." They also documented overcrowding and a lack of counselors and school nurses. The complaints were met with either a form letter, or no response at all, the parents said.
Every student who attends a Philadelphia School District school is now eligible for free breakfast and lunch, officials announced Thursday.
Students must simply show up to school to receive the free food - applications are no longer required.
Prior to the switch, about 80 percent of district students were eliglble for free and reduced lunch. All students had been eligible for free breakfast for four years.
Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia in 2008-09: 25
Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia this year: zero.
Reported incidents of violence were down in the Philadelphia School District last year, officials announced Wednesday. They also said that for the first time since such records have been kept, no city schools made the state's list of dangerous schools, a designation under the No Child Left Behind law.
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.