Archive

Parents sue state over Philadelphia schools

September 10, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A group of parents whose children attend Philadelphia public schools are asking state courts to step in after the secretary of education ignored complaints about the district.

A lawsuit filed in Commonwealth Court on Read the rest

PA Supreme Court to hear charter school lawsuit Tuesday

September 5, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in a case challenging the Philadelphia School District’s decision to place limits on charter school enrollment.

The School Reform Commission, a state-appointed body that runs … Read the rest

Three things to know: New poll shows Corbett trailing Wolf by 25 points in PA gubernatorial race

August 28, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

With a little more than two months remaining before voters go to the polls, Gov. Tom Corbett has a lot of work to do if he’s going to win a second term.

Actually, that … Read the rest

Philly family lost house over $40 drug purchase

August 27, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

In March, Chris Sourovelis’ son was caught selling $40 of heroin to an undercover police officer.

Officers from the Philadelphia Police Department responded by raiding the Sourovelis’ north Philadelphia home, with guns drawn — … Read the rest

Both parties use cynical strategy focused on driving down the vote in PA

August 22, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

In Pittsburgh last month, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, laid out part of the Democratic strategy for swinging control of the Pennsylvania Senate in this year’s election.

That strategy includes making sure Republican … Read the rest

Philly’s school problems a cautionary tale of federal stimulus

August 21, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Yaël Ossowski | Watchdog.org

As financial problems plague the Philadelphia city public school system and politicians at the state level cast blame, the specter of federal stimulus has come to bear.

At the end of last week, parents and … Read the rest

House arrest for Philly cop who dangled man from 18th story balcony

August 15, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Three Philadelphia narcotics cops who were charged with a variety of federal crimes committed while on-duty were released and confined to house arrest this week as they await trial.

Among them is Linwood Norman, … Read the rest

‘Ghost employee:’ Corbett aide Tomalis to resign amid allegations

August 13, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Ron Tomalis will resign from a job he may not have been doing in the first place.

Tomalis is a former state secretary of education who has worked as an aide in the Corbett … Read the rest

Grand jury report adds extortion to list of Ironworkers alleged crimes

August 1, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Two counts of extortion have been added to the litany of charges leveled at members of the powerful Ironworkers Local 401 union in Philadelphia.

A grand jury added the charges in a new indictment … Read the rest

Lawmaker wants more transparency in PA liquor advertising

July 31, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has that third word in its name for a reason — the agency was put in place after Prohibition to give the state a firm hand on where and … Read the rest

When it comes to class sizes, Philadelphia School District’s numbers don’t add up

July 29, 2014 | By | Posted in Features

By Eric Boehm and Mary Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Philadelphia school and city officials say the district will be forced to lay off teachers and possibly grow class sizes as large as 40 when students return in September, unless the state … Read the rest

Court ruling clears way for charter schools to expand

July 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

A Commonwealth Court ruling on Tuesday could pave the way for charter schools outside Philadelphia to expand their operations and take on more students.

In a 2-1 ruling, the court overturned an earlier decision … Read the rest

‘Vortex of political hell’ captures Philly’s cigarette tax bill

July 15, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter gets credit for calling it like he sees it.

An obviously frustrated Nutter told reporters last week he was tired of watching the legislative ping-pong over a bill that would … Read the rest

House ends pension debate by sending bill back to committee

July 2, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Fifteen Republicans broke ranks and voted with a unanimous block of House Democrats to shut down debate on a pension bill Tuesday afternoon and send it back to committee.

It was an inglorious end … Read the rest

Senate backs higher cigarette tax to pay for Philly schools

July 1, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Smokers in Philadelphia soon could be paying extra taxes to support the city’s schools.

The state Senate on Monday approved an amendment that would allow the City Council to impose a $2 per-pack tax … Read the rest

State Senate takes symbolic step on pensions, further reforms left waiting

July 1, 2014 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The state Senate on Monday approved a bill to create a new pension system for state officials, but it’s a symbolic step that will do virtually nothing to address Pennsylvania’s $50 billion unfunded pension … Read the rest

Pennsylvania considers performance-based layoffs for teachers

June 27, 2014 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org

Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow school administrators to base layoff decisions in part on teachers’ performance, as measured by the state’s new evaluation system.

“My goal is to protect our … Read the rest

Philly schools to get $39M boost in House-passed budget, but want more

June 27, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

The cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia would receive a modest increase in state funding next year under the provisions of a budget bill approved this week by the state House.

The Republican-crafted budget attempts … Read the rest

PA Senate discussing move to 401(k)-style pension plans

June 26, 2014 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Republican lawmakers in the state House spent the past week trying to cobble together enough votes to overhaul the state pension system.

With that effort seemingly stalled — for now — the Senate is … Read the rest

School district costs central to PA Republicans’ pension pitch

June 23, 2014 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Pennsylvania’s House Republican leaders hope to vote on a pension overhaul bill this week, and they spent the past week trying to court votes from members who are still on the fence.

Since all … Read the rest