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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Anger Follows Cancellation of School Funding Vote

School District of Philadelphia

If you are involved in Philadelphia Public Schools — an administrator, a teacher, a parent, a city official trying to find funding — you are most likely angry this morning. Thursday’s decision by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to cancel a vote on a cigarette tax that would help fund city schools has left the community reeling.

School may not open on time. And activists are planning protests.

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Interview: Why Philly Students Can’t Win on Standardized Tests

Broussard-Medrez0002Meredith Broussard, an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University’s school of media and communication, examines the performance of Philadelphia public school students in a new piece at TheAtlantic.com, “Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing.

The answer, it turns out, is somewhat simple: The same companies make textbooks and the standardized tests. But Philadelphia students largely don’t have access to the textbooks that form the basis of their tests. Shockingly, she reports, the district’s textbook budget for the recent school year was … zero dollars per student.

“I think that this project can help give us a way forward,” Broussard told Philly Mag this week.  “It can help us figure out exactly what kind of funding do we need, in order to achieve the goals of the system we put in place. And, if we can’t afford this system, then, well, we need to rethink how we’re implementing education.”

Some excerpts from the conversation:

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