Friday, December 19, 2014

POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 10:53 AM
Maureen Braun, dressed as a glue stick and a teacher at Spuance Elementary let her voice be heard in front of School District headquarters Thursday afternoon during the protest agaisnt the SRC. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)

A judge has made permanent an injunction barring the School Reform Commission from making changes to 11,200 Philadelphia Federation of Teachers' benefits. The SRC attempted to unilaterally cancel the PFT contract on Oct. 6, a move it said would save millions annually.

The Philadelphia School District immediately appealed Common Pleas Court Judge Nina Wright Padilla's ruling, according to court documents filed Tuesday morning. The appeal will be heard in Commonwealth Court.

Both sides said the ruling was a victory for them. The parties agreed to the terms of the judge's order.

POSTED: Friday, October 17, 2014, 9:57 AM
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia on October 6, 2014. He was repsonding the the School Reform Commission's vote to cancel the teacher' union contract. ( (David Maialetti)

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has filed its legal response to the School Reform Commission's move to cancel its contract, challenging the district's move on several fronts.

"We feel the SRC's attack last week was not only cowardly and disrespectful, but lacking legal merit," PFT President Jerry Jordan said in a statement.

The action comes the morning after 3,000 PFT members and supporters shut down North Broad Street in a rally protesting the SRC's actions.

POSTED: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 12:39 PM
Philadelphia students and teachers react to speakers in front of the School District Headquarters Thursday afternoon, protesting the SRC action voiding the teacher's contract. 1,000 people, mostly teachers furious the SRC cancelled their contract, will protest the decision before the regularly-scheduled monthly meeting of the SRC. Expect high drama, with Broad Street likely shut off for a time, and a fiery meeting. 10/16/2014 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )

7:20 p.m.

More than 1,000 teachers and union supporters gathered Thursday afternoon outside the headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia to protest the School Reform Commission's cancellation of the teachers' contract earlier this month.

The crowd spilled into the street, blocking traffic in front of 440 N. Broad St., where the commission began a meeting at 5:30 p.m. As of 7:20, people continued to give testimony to the embattled panel.

POSTED: Monday, October 6, 2014, 9:43 AM

In a stunning move that could reshape the face of city schools, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Monday to unilaterally cancel its teachers’ contract. The vote was unanimous.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers was given no advance word of the action — which happened at an early-morning SRC meeting called with minimal notice — and which figures to result in a legal challenge to the takeover law the SRC believes gives it the power to bypass negotiations and impose terms.

Jerry Jordan, PFT president, called the move "cowardly" and vowed to fight it strongly.

POSTED: Monday, October 6, 2014, 7:28 AM
Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite, at start of press conference at district headquarters August 15, 2014. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) (DN)

A School Reform Commission meeting for "general purposes" has been scheduled for this morning at 9:30. 

The next regularly scheduled meeting was October 16, but Monday's meeting was called very recently - advertised in a small legal notice in the Sunday Inquirer and with a press release sent by Philadelphia School District staff shortly after 7 a.m.

On Twitter, Philadelphia School District watchers have already begun expressing fury that the meeting was arranged so hastily and with so little public notice.

Live Blog SRC Meeting on School Closings
POSTED: Friday, October 3, 2014, 2:14 PM
Abraham Lincoln High School in Northeast Philadelphia. (Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer)

Lincoln High School in the Northeast was evacuated because of a bomb threat, officials said.

A school staffer received an email saying that devices had been placed around the school, said Police Officer Rafeeq Strickland. Police were notified at 1:45 p.m. and were at the school by 1:48 p.m..

Outside the school at Rowland and Ryan Avenues, a helicopter hovered and about 15 police cars were on the scene. Students and staff were told to keep 300 feet from the building.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 10:48 AM

The Philadelphia School District's budget crisis isn't just pinching students and teachers. It's also affecting the school system's bond rating.

Fitch Ratings this week downgraded the district's underlying bond rating to BB-. The district's rating outlook remains negative, Fitch analysts said.

"The downgrade of the underlying rating largely reflects the continued deterioration of the district's already tenuous financial position," a Fitch report said. "The district's plans to achieve structural balance rely heavily on its continued ability to achieve dramatic expenditures savings, particularly gaining significant negotiated concessions from the teacher's union. Fitch believes the level of cooperation needed to fully realize these plans will likely not be forthcoming, resulting in continued negative operations and increased accumulated deficits."

POSTED: Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 1:30 PM
Hill-Freedman World Academy (Photo via Google Maps)

Hill-Freedman World Academy, a magnet school in Northwest Philadelphia, has won a National Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced Tuesday.

It was one of several schools in the area to score the presitigious honor. The others are Franklin Towne Charter High School in Philadelphia, Merion Elementary School in Lower Merion, Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, and Norwood-Fontbonne Academy in Philadelphia.

Long a middle school, Hill-Freedman is in the process of expanding to educate students in sixth through twelfth grades. It currently has middle school students and high school freshmen and sophomores, 400 students split between two buildings.

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

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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