Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 11:29 AM
SRC Chairman Bill Green sits in front of Superintendent William Hite at a school district budget meeting. (YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

With the passage of the all-important cigarette tax - expected to be signed into law this morning by Governor Corbett - does the Philadelphia School District still have a deficit? ($81 million was the number officials had been stressing.)

Yes, and no.

SRC Chairman Bill Green said on Tuesday that even with the cigarette tax money - the district estimates it will collect $49 million this school year - a gap remains.

POSTED: Friday, September 19, 2014, 3:22 PM

Eliminate the School Reform Commission?

Not so fast, Chairman Bill Green said.

Responding to a City Council vote to place on the November ballot a nonbinding referendum asking Philadelphia voters whether they want schools returned to local control, Green was emphatic: the SRC isn't going away yet, and he's not threatened by Council's move, which was spurred by 40,000 city residents signaling they wanted to weigh in on the issue.

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014, 5:23 PM

As always, I'll be livetweeting the School Reform Commission meeting, scheduled to begin at 5:30. 

A number of closed school buildings, including Germantown High, are scheduled to be sold. Follow along here!

POSTED: Friday, September 12, 2014, 2:02 PM
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (left) and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan (right). (File photo: Charles Fox / Staff Photographer)

Leaders from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and its national arm came out swinging against City Council on Friday. The union chiefs said they were shocked and insulted by Council's failure to put on the November ballot a referendum asking voters whether they think the School Reform Commission should be replaced with an elected school board.

The local control referendum, which would have been nonbinding, was widely expected to make the ballot. The stage was set on Thursday, with a large rally before the Council session.

But Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, sponsor of the bill to put the measure onto the November ballot, said she pulled the bill because she did not want to endanger the passage of a $2-per-pack cigarette tax in Harrisburg.

POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 4:13 PM

A Philadelphia School District teacher has died after stabbing herself mutltiple times in a hotel room on Thursday, officials said.


POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 9:59 AM

A top Philadelphia School District magnet will expand next fall. A $147,000 grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership is helping to paying for the addition of seventh and eighth grade classes to the Carver High School for Engineering and Science in North Philadelphia.

The planning grant was announced Thursday by the nonprofit known as PSP.

The plan was hatched last year, Principal Ted Domers said, when district officials approached him about possibly growing the school to add more high school students. But Domers had another idea - what if they added grades, offering the school's program to middle school students? After working with district officials, he and others reached out to PSP to see if they might qualify for a grant.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 11:34 AM

A former Philadelphia principal has surrendered his state education credentials in connection with a cheating scandal.

Arthur "Larry" Melton, who retired as principal of Bok High School, gave up his teaching and administrative credentials over 'allegations that the educator violated the integrity and security of the PSSA exams for multiple years."

Bok, a career and technical high school in South Philly, closed in 2013. Melton retired prior to the school's closure.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 11:33 AM

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.

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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