Moody’s Offers Negative Outlook on School District Debt

Photo | It's Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

Photo | It’s Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

The Philadelphia School District is more financially stable than it’s been in a while, but there are still plenty of problems.

That’s the assessment from Moody’s, which last week affirmed its negative outlook on the $3.1 billion in outstanding debt.

“We are working to achieve and present a stabilized budget and long term fiscal plan,” Supt. William Hite said in a press release issued today, “and it is important that independent reviewers like Moody’s are recognizing our efforts.” Read more »

PA Pols Want to Stop Locking Up Parents of Truant Students

Photo | It's Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

Photo | It’s Our City via Flickr / Creative Commons

Is pressing charges against the parent of a habitually truant student a good idea?

State Sen. Vincent Hughes has a simple three-word answer: “Oh hell no.”

Hughes and a number of Democratic and Republican state senators are trying to remove that option from the table with a Senate bill that could overhaul the way schools address truancy across Pennsylvania. Read more »

Bill Hite Has the Hardest Job in the Country

Photograph by Justin James Muir.

Photograph by Justin James Muir.

On the third Thursday of every month, William Hite is subjected to four hours of ritual torture.

The sessions take place in an auditorium at the headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia, on North Broad Street. Starting around 5:30 p.m., several hundred education obsessives march in and locate seats. Sometimes they bring musical instruments. Hite sits at the front of the room next to the five members of the School Reform Commission, Philadelphia’s peculiar version of a school board. Well-built, impeccably dressed, perfectly composed, Philly’s school superintendent awaits the onslaught. Read more »

Hite: Every School Will Get a Nurse, Counselor If Wolf’s Budget Passes

Philadelphia School District Building

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Superintendent William Hite made a surprise announcement Thursday that every school in Philadelphia will have a full-time nurse and counselor next year — if, that is, the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly passes Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget.

That’s a very big if. Pennsylvania still lacks a complete budget for this year.

Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the school district, said it will need to hire 61 nurses and 42.5 school counselors (.5 because some are part-time) in order to make up for the current holes. He said this will cost a total of $12.9 million — $5 million for counselors and $7.9 million for nurses. Read more »

Study: Philly Support for Public Schools Is On the Rise

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

There is a perception in some circles that the City of Philadelphia has been less than generous when it comes to public schools. But maybe it’s time to rethink that view.

new report from Temple University’s Center on Regional Politics suggests the city has dramatically boosted its financial support for schools in recent years — and that the city’s oft-impoverished residents are carrying a heavier-than-expected tax burden as a result.

The study, “How Well Does Philadelphia Support Its Public Schools? A New Perspective,” avoids concluding that the city “does more than it gets credit for doing.” But it highlights important data: Read more »

WATCH: Northeast High Girl Turns Video of Her Beating Into Anti-Bullying Crusade

Images from Mia DeJesus' video.

Images from Mia DeJesus’ anti-bullying video.

Mia DeJesus says she was beaten unconscious in a Northeast High School bathroom last week — and to make things worse, her attackers posted video of the incident online to see.

Now the video is going viral — promoted by 16-year-old DeJesus herself, as a statement against bullying.

“I refuse to be held hostage by this video and my fear,” she says in a voiceover. “I will not be a victim.”

Watch: Read more »

Philly Schools Are Closed Again Tomorrow

Philadelphia School District Building

Photo by Jeff Fusco

All Philadelphia public schools are closed again tomorrow due to this weekend’s snowstorm.

Not long after the Philadelphia School District announced its decision, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia also announced schools in the city would be closed tomorrow as well.

Read more »

Philly Schools Are Closed Monday

Photo Jan 24, 11 48 59 AM

Good evening, Philadelphia. Here’s what we know — and don’t know — as sunset falls on a snow-blanketed region:

District and Catholic schools in Philadelphia will be closed Monday. The announcement from the School District of Philadelphia came late Sunday afternoon: “Due to the snowstorm that occurred over the weekend, all School District of Philadelphia schools are closed for Monday, January 25.” The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also announced that “Archdiocesan high schools and Catholic elementary schools in the City of Philadelphia will be closed tomorrow, Monday, January 25, 2016 due to ongoing travel difficulties associated with the weekend’s winter storm.” Also closed are all early childhood and after-school programs and all administrative offices.”

City employees, however, will be on the job: Mayor Jim Kenney declared at a Sunday morning press conference that City Hall will be open. CBS3 reports, however, that there will be no trash or recycling collection on Monday.  Read more »

It’s So Cold, Two Area Schools Are Closed Today

Alain Locke Elementary. Photo | Google Street View

Alain Locke Elementary. Photo | Google Street View

It’s about 22 degrees in Philadelphia right now. You don’t need me to tell you that this is cold, one of the coldest days yet this winter and one that probably made you shiver on your way out of the house this morning.

Indeed, it’s so cold that two Philadelphia area schools are closing today due to a lack of heat. First is the Alain Locke Elementary School, at 45th and Haverford in West Philadelphia. That school has no heat whatsoever; it was in session this morning, but it dismissed at noon. (Hey, at least the school’s boiler didn’t explode.)

In Bucks County, Truman High School closed at 10 a.m. this morning due to a heating circulator not being repaired. Read more »

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