City Voters Will Get Say on SRC Future

City voters will get their chance to weigh in on the future of Philadelphia schools in November: City Council today approved a non-binding referendum on whether the state-controlled School Reform Commission should be dissolved and the schools returned to local control.

Advocates publicly asked Mayor Michael Nutter to sign the bill today, but it wasn’t immediately clear if he would.

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Are Suburban Schools Immoral?

suburban schools

Shutterstock.com

Quick question on the first day of kindergarten in Philly public schools: Is it actually immoral to take your kid and flee the city for suburban schools?

Silly question, right? After all, city families have been fleeing to the ’burbs (or to private schools) for decades. We don’t really blink at the process, because of course the right answer to the question is to do whatever it takes to get your child the best education possible.

Right?

But maybe there’s an alternative argument.

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The Philly Outrage Meter for the Week Ending September 12, 2014

During the week ending September 12, 2014, Philadelphians, it seemed, were most outraged over the whole LeSean McCoy 20-Cent Tip at PYT saga, which garnered approximately 90% of the total outrage according to our precise calculations. What remains unclear, however, is whether more people were outraged at LeSean McCoy for leaving the 20-cent tip, or at PYT owner Tommy Up for publicly outing him for it. But suffice to say, PYT has been working hard to scrub all of the new one-star Yelp reviews it has received since the McCoy backlash began — reviews left by people who have never been to PYT.

Precisely 1% of the outrage is being directed at the outrageously bad Philadelphia schools.

And the rest of the outrage (9%) is divided between outrage over changing the name of Fishtown to Northern Liberties II, the outrage over bad Philly cops, the outrage over Atlantic City, the outrage over slave jokes, the outrage over what is and what is not “torture porn,” and the outrage over the Ray Rice situation.

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Here’s Why Philly Businesses Will Gladly Pay Millions for the Pope and DNC

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Fact: If the Democratic National Committee decides to hold its 2016 convention in Philadelphia the cost could range anywhere from $50-$75 million dollars. While the federal government would pick up most of this cost, as much as $10 million could fall on our local government (at least, that’s what New York’s mayor predicts if the convention came to his town).

Fact: When the pope visits Philadelphia in 2015 as part of the World Meeting of Families the estimated cost could be another $13 million, (the city of Milan paid 10 million euros when it hosted the event in 2012).

Fact: $10 million plus $13 million means the city could be on the hook for up to $23 million in additional expenses for these two events. Maybe even more.

Fact: It’s likely that Philadelphia’s business community will step up and raise the money to pay this bill so that taxpayers are not out of pocket. “We’re the fifth largest city in America,” Comcast’s David Cohen recently said in a radio interview. “And I think our civic leadership has the capacity to be able to raise the money to host these two pretty special events in consecutive years in Philadelphia.”

Great!  The city needs $23 million, and the business community will likely step up.

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Gov. Corbett Pushes to Open Philly Schools on Time

Gov. Tom Corbett made a big push today to open Philly public schools on time, saying he would send the city $265 million and call on the Legislature to return to work to pass a cigarette tax officials here say will fully fund schools for the year.

The $265 million is an advance on money the state already planned to send to fund Philly schools — it’s just getting here sooner than planned. Officials have said the cigarette tax is needed to ensure schools can stay open throughout the school year — and that they might not open schools on time without assurance they can keep those doors open.

The announcement came at a 9:30 a.m. press conference, as well as in a series of posts to Twitter.

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No Cig Tax, But State Leaders Promise School Support

Another day on the brink for Philly schools: Activists and officials headed to Harrisburg on Monday — the day the Pennsylvania House was supposed to approve a cigarette tax to fund city schools — to rally and lobby state officials for the funding authority.

They didn’t get what they were looking for.

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Stephen Starr: Bad Schools Make for a Bad Economy

When it comes to supporting Philly public schools, restaurateur Stephen Starr has put his money where his customers’ mouths are: He raised more than $100,000 for the school district by asking patrons to add a donation to their bill whenever they ate at one of his restaurants.

Starr gave an interview to the Philadelphia Business Journal about why he promotes the schools. An excerpt:

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