Philly Principals Agree to Pay Cut

The Inquirer’s Kristen Graham reports that the union representing Philly’s public school principals has agreed to take a steep pay cut, and for members to start contributing to their health insurance plans.

Under the terms of the new contract, the average assistant principal or principal would take a pay cut of 12 to 17 percent. Principals now make between $124,000 and $149,000, and that will change to $97,000 to $124,000. Assistant principals are now paid between $106,000 and $133,000, and that will be reduced to between $88,000 and $110,000.

 The year-round employees will also be on 10-month contracts going forward. The school district must still come to agreement with — or decide to impose a contract up — the union representing district teachers. Officials are looking for a total of $130 million in givebacks from the unions.

STARR Restaurants Launches School Fundraising Initiative

support-our-schools-starrToday, Stephen Starr and STARR Restaurants launched a “Support Our Schools” fundraising and awareness effort with The School District of Philadelphia. The month-long initiative will request that patrons to all of Starr’s Philadelphia restaurants to add a donation to the schools, right onto their checks.

Starr says “the School District’s needs are at historical proportions, we simply can’t turn our backs on it and wait for others to try to fix it; we all have to do our part.”

Areas that will benefit »

Stephen Starr Will Ask Patrons to Donate to Philly Schools

Nice news this morning:

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The Philadelphia School District’s Unfortunate Hashtag: #phled

philadelphia school district hashtag phled

In a city that has smart parents fleeing in droves to the better, safer schools of the suburbs, this hashtag used by the School District of Philadelphia is probably ill-advised. Ah, homophony.

Meet the Guy Teaching Yoga to Philadelphia Public School Kids

Photograph courtesy of Christopher Theodore

Photograph courtesy of Christopher Theodore

Christopher Theodore has been teaching yoga in Philadelphia public schools for the past 14 years. Surprised? There’s more: Christopher—or Mr. Coach Theo, as his younger students call him—has a whole curriculum he’s built for his P.E. classes that carves out time for yoga, plus optional after-school classes for kids who want to deepen their practice. Cool, right?

I chatted with Christopher last week to hear more about what he’s doing, how he’s doing it, and why he thinks yoga is important for kids in Philadelphia.

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School Worker Said to Yank Girl’s Teeth

NBC 10 reports on accusations that a school worker yanked a child’s teeth out. No, the teeth weren’t ready.

Harmani, 7, attends a class for children with behavioral issues at the Solis Cohen Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia. Tomeka Speller says her daughter was chewing on her sweater and refused to stop when a specially trained school therapeutic worker told her to. Speller says the worker then forcefully pulled out the sweater, yanking out the girl’s three front teeth.

 “She used excessive force,” Speller said. “She just said, ‘I’m not having this today’ and she yanked it out. Just because you’re having a bad day does not mean you’re going to mistreat my child!”

School officials are filing a complaint with police and the Department of Human Services.

6ABC Panel to Focus on Future of Philly Schools

FebCover-14-400Philly Mag’s cover article offering proposals to fix the city’s school crisis will be the center of a live panel discussion at today on

Sarah Bloomquist, 6ABC anchor, will moderate the discussion, which will feature Patrick Kerkstra, author of the Philly Mag article. Other members of the panel will include Farah Jimenez, a new member of the School Reform Commission; Jerry Jordan of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Charter Schools; Gerald Wright of Parents United, as well as several other elected officials and activists.

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Green: Ready to Impose Contract Terms on Philly Teachers

The Philadelphia School Notebook reports that incoming SRC Chair Bill Green is ready to make waves:

Green also said that he was fully prepared to use the SRC’s special powers to impose a contract on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers if a negotiated agreement cannot be reached, a bold step that prior SRCs have avoided. Whether such a move would survive a court challenge is unclear.

With the District asking teachers all at once for deep pay cuts, an overhaul of the compensation system, performance-based raises, dilution of seniority privileges, and changes in cherished work rules, the two sides have met without resolution since last spring.

“I hope we can have a negotiated settlement,” said the councilman when he was awaiting state Senate confirmation. “But whatever has to be done to have 100 percent good schools, if I have the power to do it, I’ll do it.”

Green was confirmed this week. No word yet on how teachers would respond if terms were imposed. As it happens, though, such a move is recommended by Philly Mag’s Patrick Kerkstra in his cover story on Philly schools.

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