Public Utility Commission fines Uber $50 million for defying regulators’ authority

November 18, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

The showdown between Uber and Pennsylvania has escalated, and it’s getting expensive.

A pair of Pennsylvania judges on Tuesday recommended a massive $50 million fine against ride-sharing company Uber for operating in the state without a license and for resisting … Read the rest

Court sticks taxpayers with Jerry Sandusky’s pension tab

November 13, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach convicted of abusing and molesting numerous boys over more than a decade, will get to keep his taxpayer-funded state pension.

A state judge ruled Friday that Sandusky is entitled to receive … Read the rest

How will Philadelphia elections affect school choice?

November 5, 2015 | By | Posted in Education

Philadelphia mayor-elect Jim Kenney and Helen Gym, who won a seat on the City Council, made education a top priority in their campaigns.

Here, a third of public school students are enrolled in charter schools and, for now, school choice … Read the rest

Campaign contributions provoke cries of crony capitalism in Martin Tower zoning fight

November 4, 2015 | By | Posted in Features

Two developers who donated thousands to the political campaigns of Bethlehem City Council members stand to benefit from a hotly contested change to the city’s zoning regulations.

Norton Herrick and Lew Ronca, who own a 53-acre parcel in the city, … Read the rest

Auditor General: Pennsylvania budget impasse ‘borderline disastrous’

October 30, 2015 | By | Posted in Education

The situation is getting worse.

The longer the Pennsylvania budget impasse continues, the deeper the impact will be on schools. According to state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, if the four-month spending stalemate lingers beyond Thanksgiving, the situation could force many Read the rest

PA Auditor General uncovers ‘disturbing’ education policy trends

October 16, 2015 | By | Posted in Education

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale this week published a scathing report detailing neglect and mismanagement in the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the state Board of Education.

In a performance audit of the state’s top education agencies, DePasquale found Read the rest

No cookies for you! Wolf’s gift ban foils sweet-toothed Pennsylvania employees

September 22, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Governor

Some sweet-toothed state employees were busted by Pennsylvania’s inspector general for skirting the Wolf administration’s gift ban.

Their offense: accepting a plate of holiday cookies.

COOKIES BANNED: Some PennDOT employees accepted a plate of holiday cookies from a vendor doing

Read the rest

Erie schools may close over state budget impasse

September 18, 2015 | By | Posted in Education

Pennsylvania’s 10th largest school district may close to students until the state budget impasse is resolved.

Jay Badams, superintendent for Erie schools, said this week he’s “seriously considering” a temporary districtwide shut down. The district could also ask teachers to … Read the rest

Week in Review: Kane target of more investigations

August 21, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By PA Independent Staff

Kathleen Kane and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did the hokey-pokey over the release of pornographic emails that Kane claims are an important part of her criminal defense.

Kane was also hit with a request for an … Read the rest

How lawyers plan to bust Philadelphia’s ‘ghost teachers’

August 21, 2015 | By | Posted in Education, WatchBlog

Lawyers are hoping a recent Arizona court decision supports their bid to bust Philadelphia ghost teachers.

GHOST BUSTERS: An Arizona court decision sets a legal precedent for busting the practice of Philadelphia teachers leaving the classroom to work for their

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Philadelphia teachers union and the district can’t stay out of court

August 20, 2015 | By | Posted in Education, General News

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers wants the School District of Philadelphia to spend more on students and less on lawyers, but the union keeps taking the district to court.

The sides are arguing three separate labor lawsuits, all of which Read the rest

Ethics complaint targets Kane; alleges she used public office for her criminal defense

August 18, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

NOT GOING ANYWHERE: Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she won’t resign despite facing criminal charges.

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Already the target of a criminal investigation by one Pennsylvania prosecutor, Attorney General Kathleen Kane could soon be investigated … Read the rest

Erie’s rising pension costs prompt calls to change ‘antiquated’ pension system

August 11, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

After years of fighting a losing battle against rising pension costs, Erie’s mayor has concluded the “antiquated” public sector pension model has to change.

He’s part of a small but growing coterie of Democrats … Read the rest

Philadelphia school district battles shadowy perception

July 9, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman |

It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia.

SILENCE IS GOLDEN: The School District of Philadelphia has a long history of First Amendment rights violations and shady Sunshine Act behavior.

Especially when it comes to the School … Read the rest

Cost of using PA Turnpike will increase in 2016, triple by 2040

July 8, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Another round of toll increases are coming down the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Followed by another. And another. And then about 25 more.

The Turnpike Commission announced Tuesday that tolls will increase next year by 6 … Read the rest

Wolf’s veto, opposing mandates leave Pennsylvania without budget

July 1, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Republican lawmakers on Tuesday steamrolled through liquor privatization, public pension reform and a state budget without a tax increase.

They were doing what the people elected them to do, they said.… Read the rest

City has ‘no idea’ how Philadelphia schools spend its taxes

June 30, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman |

The Philadelphia City Council gives schools millions in taxpayer dollars, but where does it go?

CASH VAULT: City officials want a better understanding of how the School District of Philadelphia spends taxpayer money.

The council … Read the rest

Scranton handed out $3 million in ‘double pensions,’ adding to fiscal woes

June 26, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Even as it careened toward bankruptcy, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, approved $3 million in bonus pension payments for a handful of city employees.

Those extra payments effectively doubled the retirement pay of 35 … Read the rest

Lawsuit claims PA teachers union stomps First Amendment rights

June 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman |

A veteran Pennsylvania school teacher is taking on the biggest teachers’ union in the state because she feels her First Amendment rights are being trampled by the organization.

MONEY MANAGERS: Linda Misja is taking the

Read the rest

Despite new funds, Philadelphia schools not out of trouble yet

June 19, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman |

Mere hours after getting a $70 million bailout from the City Council, the School District of Philadelphia may have thrown $25 million of that out the window.

NO GUARANTEES: Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite can’t be

Read the rest