Monday, January 9, 2012

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Contributions to Students First PAC Not Exactly Grassroots: $6.66 Million from just 19 donors

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FOLLOW THE MONEY: Contributions to Students First PAC

Not Exactly Grassroots: $6.66 Million from just 19 donors

Philadelphia Archdiocese to close 49 Catholic schools
Posted: Sat, Jan. 7, 2012, 3:01 AM
By Martha Woodall, Susan Snyder, and Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia unveiled a sweeping plan Friday to address plummeting Catholic school enrollment that calls for closing four high schools and closing and merging 45 elementary schools in June, and restructuring Catholic education across the region.

Neshaminy teachers to strike Monday
By Kristen A. Graham and David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writers
Posted: Sat, Jan. 7, 2012, 3:01 AM
Fed up with lengthy and fruitless negotiations, teachers in the Neshaminy School District in lower Bucks County have called a strike for Monday, high school biology teacher and union leader Louise Boyd said Friday night.

Dinniman: Corbett Administration Inaction Exacerbated

Press Release from Senator Dinniman’s Office WEST CHESTER (January 6)
Senator Dinniman issued the following statement on financial crisis in the Chester Upland School District:
“As minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, I am dismayed by the actions of the Pennsylvania Department of Education in refusing to advance available funding for the Chester Upland School District. What is occurring in the Chester Upland School District is only the beginning of the Corbett Administration’s plan to financially starve poor school districts, destroy public education in these districts and in this case, force students into for-profit charter schools.
“The absolute hypocrisy of what’s happening is stunning: While PDE is refusing to send funds to the Chester Upland School District, they have taken money during this school year from the district’s account and sent it to charter school operators.
“As a legislator, I have a fundamental responsibility to ask a question that needs to be asked and has yet to be answered: ‘Is it just a coincidence that the operator of the for-profit charter school serving the students of this district is also one of the biggest Republican contributors in the Commonwealth?’”

Tom Houghton: “As the Senate Minority Chair to the Education Committee, instead of standing up for public education, Senator Andy Dinniman has assisted and given cover to public school opponents in their efforts to begin the dismantling of public education in Pennsylvania.”

Houghton announces new state Senate bid

Unionville Times January 6, 2012
Redistricted out of the 9th, he will challenge Sen. Andy Dinniman for the Democratic nomination in the 19th District
LONDON GROVE — Former State Representative, Township Supervisor and attorney Tom Houghton announced his candidacy for the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 19th District, which includes West Marlborough township in the Unionville area.

Auditor general says charter school violated state law

Preliminary state audit report finds Pocono Mountain Charter School had 'improper entanglements' with Tobyhanna church.

By Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call 10:20 p.m. EST, January 6, 2012
A Monroe County charter school has violated the state charter school law by having "improper entanglements" with a church run by the school's founder, according to a preliminary report issued by the state auditor general's office.
The report, obtained by The Morning Call, says the Pocono Mountain Charter School in Tobyhanna also may have illegally diverted taxpayer money to adjacent Shawnee Tabernacle Church. It also may have improperly received $87,101 from the state in rental reimbursements for its building lease agreement with the church.
The report also says the charter school may have violated the state Ethics Act rule against conflict of interest in other dealings with the church, which is run by the Rev. Dennis Bloom.

School districts wrestle with uncertainty
More forced to seek greater tax hikes
Friday, January 06, 2012 By Mary Niederberger, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It appears the only certainty that school officials face in preparing their 2012-13 budgets is uncertainty.
Thursday was the deadline for districts to either pass a resolution agreeing to keep property tax hikes to the limit assigned by state Act 1, or post for public display a preliminary budget, which would allow districts to preserve their right to file for any of the three exceptions to the limit -- pension, special education or debt costs.
But that decision had to be made before districts found out how much state funding they would get, how much their health care costs will increase, how many employees may retire, and in Allegheny County, whether or not there will be new property assessment figures used to calculate tax revenues.

WHAT WORKS: Tune Up Philly: Finding Purpose Through Music.

JUMP The Philadelphia Music Project by Rick Kauffman, June 3, 2011
Tune Up Philly is the first of its kind in the United States, an intensive after-school program aiming to nurture urban school children by engaging them with music.
Director Stanford Thompson aspires to ingrain in the students a level of confidence, to teach them to learn more effectively and to foster their musical talents.

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