Responding to Mayor Nutter's nine-page letter sent over the weekend demanding unprecedented access to the District's books and personnel, the School Reform Commission voted Wednesday to negotiate an "educational accountability agreement" with the mayor.
The Notebook has a rare opportunity for organizational growth in the month of June, and it's also an opportunity for our readers to double their impact.
We have received a generous "matching gift" from an anonymous donor aimed at increasing the number of readers who are also members of the Notebook community. From now until June 30, every new and renewed membership in the Notebook will be matched by this donor dollar for dollar up to $8,000. Each individual gift of up to $1,000 will be matched.
As the School Reform Commission prepared to meet Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. to adopt the District’s budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year, significant new information emerged about Promise Academies, contracted services, and collective bargaining issues.
[Updated, 6:30 p.m.] City Councilman W. Wilson Goode, Jr., was quick to ask District officials the question: "How much money are you asking for?"
The galleries in City Council chambers burst into applause. It was an indication that some in Council were taking seriously the District's request for additional funds.
A list dated May 11 and provided to City Council by the School District outlines the $180 million in cuts they would like to be able to restore, headed by full-day kindergarten and transportation.
There's a full house in the galleries at City Council today as the School District prepares to presents its budget and makes a pitch for additional support to help roll back some of its cuts and address its $629 million budget gap.
“I'm Benjamin Herold, reporting for the Public School Notebook and WHYY News.”
If you tune in to FM station WHYY, several months ago you began hearing from the Notebook. The Notebook took to the radio this year in a partnership with WHYY and its site NewsWorks to bring our in-depth education reporting to a new audience. Teaming up has allowed the Notebook and NewsWorks to bring you important education news stories: Hope Moffett, Martin Luther King High, and the budget crisis. You heard about them all from us first.
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman defended the District’s handling of its budget cuts and its community involvement strategy in response to several speakers who took issue with proposed District cutbacks at Wednesday’s School Reform Commission meeting,
Even though more than 700 teachers plan to retire or resign at the end of this school year, the School District says that it will still be forced to lay off others in the absence of new funding.
As of the beginning of May, 577 teachers had notified the District that they plan to retire this year and another 147 are resigning, according to a District spokesperson. The combined total of 724 teachers departing still falls far short of the 1,260 teaching positions District officials say they must eliminate next fall.
[Updated, 10:50 p.m.] The District's just-released "Budget in brief," in a detailed section on expenditures, identifies a long list of areas where school budgets will be cut:
After a lengthy, sometimes testy public discussion, the School Reform Commission approved an amended plan Wednesday to grant charters to Universal Companies to run Audenried High School and Vare Middle as "Promise Neighborhood Partnership Charter Schools."
[Updated 11:30 p.m.] Cutting back to half-day kindergarten across the city, eliminating transportation services for most District students, and slashing school discretionary budgets by nearly one-third are just a few of the grim new District budget measures announced Wednesday.
District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch outlined the 2011-12 District budget at an afternoon press briefing and again at a special budget hearing after Wednesday's regular meeting of the School Reform Commission. Faced with the unhappy task of closing a $629 million gap representing a full 20 percent of the system's budget, he repeatedly expressed his openness to any ideas for a better way to deal with the financial predicament.
In a late night statement, a School District spokesperson said that Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery was the previously unnamed District official present in a pivotal, closed-door meeting about the fate of King High School on March 16.
The Notebook's annual June fundraiser is happening June 7! We hope that you'll be able to join us for what is an energizing and fun annual tradition.
[Updated 9:30 pm] Mastery, Mosaica, and ASPIRA are the winners in this year's process of matching six low-performing Renaissance Schools with turnaround managers. All six schools are slated to become charters after a Wednesday vote by the School Reform Commission.
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and District staff recommended the first choices of the School Advisory Council at five of the six schools slated for turnaround.