Protestors in October demonstrate against the school district’s sudden decision to cancel teachers and others contract and force them to pay health care premiums. The Commonwealth Court just ruled the SRC lacks the power to void the teacher contract.
[Update, 3:25 p.m.] SRC Chairman Bill Green says his board hasn’t yet decided if it will appeal the ruling. “I’m obviously very disappointed, but I’m not sure I understand the reasoning of the court,” Green said.
He’s not sure what happens next. “We said in the beginning we hope to resolve this through negotiation and not litigation, but that has not been possible and still appears not to be possible,” Green said.
He said the district had hoped to end this fiscal year on relatively stable financial footing, and be able to ask the state and city for new school funds that would be used not just to plug deficits, but to invest in improving city schools. “If this stands, it would put us in the place of asking for money to avoid cuts, instead of asking for money to allow (Superintendent) Bill Hite and his team to be proactive and transform our schools.”
Green estimates the deficit next year will be about $80 million if the ruling is not appealed and new city or state funds are not allocated for the schools. “The problem is, there’s very few places to go (for cuts) except class size,” Green said.
[Original, 12:11 p.m.] In a unanimous decision, a five-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court ruled this morning that the School Reform Commission lacks the power to void its contract with the teacher’s union and impose new terms, as the SRC did on October 6, of last year. Read more »
Almost one month after Bill Green and his controversial School Reform Commission voted unanimously and unilaterally to cancel the labor contract for the approximately 15,000 teachers in the Philadelphia public school system, it looks like the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and schools activist Lisa Haver, one of the founders of the alliance, are taking Green, the SRC and the School District of Philadelphia to court. Read more »
The School Reform Commission approving the sale of 11 Philadelphia schools is big news this morning, punctuated with some pretty big numbers. The Daily News’s Solomon Leach has details on how the sales will break down.
The two biggest parcels are each going for $6.8 million. Germantown High, Carroll High, Fulton Elementary, Walter Smith Elementary and Abigail Vare Elementary are all going to the Concordia Group. Two of the elementary schools – Vare and Smith – are slated to become residential buildings.
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KYW Radio reports that the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and its allies are seeking a November ballot question that would dissolve the School Resource Commission. The SRC — features a mix of state and city appointees, with a majority appointed by the governor — has been in existence since 2001, when it was created during a state takeover of Philadelphia schools.
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Why anyone would sacrifice his cushy half-councilman/half-lawyer gig and toss away mayoral ambitions to take a position that would get him publicly yelled at on a regular basis by hundreds of angry people is beyond me.
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