Lawsuit: School Funding in Pennsylvania is Unconstitutional

shutterstock_175830524-money-scales-of-justice

Seventeen years ago, the city and School District of Philadelphia filed suit against Pennsylvania, accusing it of failing to provide sufficient education funding in violation of the state Constitution, which obligates the state legislature to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education.”

It didn’t work. Commonwealth Court rejected the suit, and the state Supreme Court in 1999 refused to hear an appeal.

Now school funding advocates are looking for a rematch. A potentially momentous lawsuit was filed in Commonwealth Court this morning, claiming that the state has “adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangement that drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts.”

One of many striking elements of this suit is that the School District of Philadelphia — which would be among the greatest beneficiaries of a successful lawsuit — is not among the plaintiffs.

Read more »

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.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter

No, an Uzi Was Not Found at a Philadelphia Charter School

not an uziOn Monday,  according to police, the assistant dean at the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Partners Charter School on Harbison Avenue in the Frankford section of Philadelphia found a loaded gun inside a locker during renovations.

CBS Philly quickly reported that the gun was an Uzi, and people really freak out about Uzis. But it turns out it was just a 9mm handgun from MasterPiece Arms, like the one seen here.

The School District isn’t answering any questions about the gun, since Walter D. Palmer is a charter school. And as for the school itself, they hung up on me when I called to get a comment. But rest assured, parents: It was not an Uzi.

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.

Philadelphia Schools Closed On Monday

Hours after the city officially declared a snow emergency in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Streets Department announced that those of us with Monday trash pickup would have to hold our trash for a whole week (yay!), the School District of Philadelphia finally got around to announcing that Philadelphia public schools would be closed on Monday. Read more »

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 6ABC.com.

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.

Read more »

Local Group Pushes for Meatless Mondays in Philly Public Schools

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Remember last fall when the Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution in support of Meatless Mondays in Philly? The group that helped usher the measure through City Hall is now turning its attention to Philadelphia public schools.

The Philly-based animal rights organization, the Humane League, just launched an initiative urging the School District of Philadelphia to take up the Meatless Monday cause in its own cafeterias. The objective: to get public schools to offer an entire menu of vegetarian options—and only vegetarian options—every Monday, every week of the school year.

Read more »