Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Friday, August 22, 2014, 10:41 AM
The sale of William Penn High School to Temple University will proceed. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

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.

POSTED: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 3:03 PM

4:15 p.m.

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.

POSTED: Friday, August 15, 2014, 8:06 AM
Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite walks to the podium at the press conference at the school district headquarters. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) (DN)

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.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 11:55 AM

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.

POSTED: Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:20 PM
Hundreds turned out for a strategy, policy, and priorities meeting on Jan. 13, 2014. Dr. William Hite, Jr, Superintendent of Schools talks to one of the groups. School officials acknowledge today that 300-plus layoff notices are going out. (CHARLES FOX/Staff Photographer/File)

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.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 4:18 PM
Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia William Hite scratches his head while arriving to a public meeting to adopt a operating budget for 2014/2015 at the Philadelphia School District Building on Monday, June 30, 2014. The Pa. Senate's action on Tuesday delays a cigarette tax that would raise millions for Philly schools. ( YONG KIM / Staff Photographer )

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.

POSTED: Thursday, July 3, 2014, 3:52 PM
Wendell Pritchett. (APRIL SAUL/Staff Photographer)
Wendell 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.

POSTED: Monday, June 30, 2014, 2:06 PM

UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.

Mayor Nutter is urging the SRC to pass a placeholder budget tonight, anticipating that Harrisburg will come through with the funding the school district is asking for. The alternative, Nutter wrote in a letter to the SRC sent today, would force "cuts that are so painful that they raise serious questions about whether it is safe to open schools." 

"Without further action by the Commonwealth, the District would be facing a $93 million gap. the District would be facing a $93 million gap. In order to close that gap, it would have to go through yet another round of painful cuts that could increase class size to more than 40 students, further reduce our teaching force by 1,300, reduce transportation options so that children have to walk longer distances to schools and make cuts to alternative education."

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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