Archive

Pension reform promises $18 billion savings, but questions linger

May 20, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

After what was touted as a historic vote in the state Senate, Pennsylvania is still a long way from getting any relief from its public pension problems.

A major pension overhaul bill cleared the state Read the rest

Union-backed candidates win big in Philadelphia primary election

May 20, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Union favorite Jim Kenney won the Democratic nomination and will continue his run to become the next mayor of Philadelphia, almost a foregone conclusion.

He’ll face Republican Melissa Murray Bailey in the general election, though … Read the rest

Mayoral candidates want to end state control of Philly schools

May 15, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

No group — maybe outside of the Dallas Cowboys — is more unpopular in Philadelphia than the School Reform Commission.

SRC YOU LATER: Most Philadelphia mayoral hopefuls pictured here want to end state control of

Read the rest

Philly mayoral candidates don’t agree on charter schools

May 14, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

With less than a week from the Democratic primary in Philadelphia, education issues loom large in the mayoral race.

Charter schools, the School Reform Commission and a new funding formula are the three major education … Read the rest

PA Senate, House cooking up pension bills

May 13, 2015 | By | Posted in Legislature

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Changes may be coming to Pennsylvania’s budget-busting public retirement programs.

The state Senate is moving quickly this week to approve a major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s two public pension plans. The Republican-backed proposal would change benefits … Read the rest

Short on subs, Philly schools look to non-union contractors

May 8, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The local teachers union is not getting the job done, so the School District of Philadelphia wants to use a private vendor to manage its substitute teachers.

SUB SHOP: With more than half of all

Read the rest

Higher taxes all ’round: 3 things to know about IFO report on Wolf’s tax plan

April 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

All Pennsylvanians would face higher taxes if Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal becomes law.

On the campaign trail and in his first budget plan, Wolf had pitched an ambitious overhaul of Pennsylvania’s tax system … Read the rest

Close enough for government work: This town reveals the problem with family and politics

April 23, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

ONE BIG FAMILY: Council members from the tiny Northeastern Pennsylvania borough of Throop have a history of hiring their family members.

By Will Swaim | Watchdog.org

There’s an old aphorism, sometimes attributed to Harper Lee, that goes, “You can pick … Read the rest

Philly ghost teachers made more than $1.7M last year

April 23, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

At least 18 public school teachers who never stepped foot in a classroom last year made more than $1.7 million from the School District of Philadelphia.

Those teachers worked full-time for the Philadelphia Federation of … Read the rest

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejects school funding lawsuit

April 22, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The Commonwealth Court spiked a school-funding lawsuit this week, ruling that education spending is not in its wheelhouse.

“This is a legislative policy determination,” Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote, referencing state Supreme Court rulings that eliminate … Read the rest

Book-starved Philly schools forced to fend for themselves

April 17, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

The School District of Philadelphia does not have enough books for students.

And it doesn’t seem to care.

BOOK CHECK: While Philly schools need supplies and books, the district does nothing to track where donated

Read the rest

Pennsylvania pension funds could run dry in as little as 10 years

April 16, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

Without higher contributions from workers and taxpayers, Pennsylvania’s public sector pension plans may not be able to pay for their promises.

And if investment returns fail to live up to expectations, the two pension … Read the rest

Advocates present plan to fix failing Pennsylvania schools

April 10, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Despite massive taxpayer investments, some Pennsylvania schools continue to fail.

How to fix that problem is the subject of much debate in state and local government, but one education reform group says the state should … Read the rest

Teachers union gets free office space from broke Philly school district

April 8, 2015 | By | Posted in Investigations

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

While local students are forced to go without basic supplies like toilet paper and textbooks, the School District of Philadelphia is giving away thousands of dollars of free office space each year to the … Read the rest

Kane revoked subpoenas in casino investigation involving DeNaples, Inky says

April 3, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

More bad news for Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Already facing questions over why she closed a criminal probe into corrupt state lawmakers, Kane will now have to answer to allegations she shut down an … Read the rest

Philadelphia schools tread on rocky fiscal footing

April 3, 2015 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — If the School District of Philadelphia gets every penny it expects from increased state and local funding, massive investments in city schools will only temporarily solve the district’s financial woes.

Another reason for … Read the rest

With limited reach, Philadelphia mayoral foes are talking out of school

March 27, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — No issue more seems to be important to Pennsylvanians at the moment than education, according to several polls.

So it makes perfect sense that Philadelphia mayoral candidates have made schools a top talking … Read the rest

Mixed messages making school budgets a challenge

March 26, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

Imagine sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him everything you want for Christmas. Then, imagine Santa removing his beard and telling you, Don’t count on it.

In a way, that’s what’s happening in Pennsylvania.

NAUGTY

Read the rest

Nine of Pennsylvania’s 10 largest cities have more pensioners than workers

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in General News

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Meet the new poster child for Pennsylvania’s municipal pension problems.

York is a mid-sized city of 43,000 residents in central Pennsylvania near the state’s southern border that’s facing more than $64 million in pension-related debt.… Read the rest

Despite high marks, Pennsylvania charter schools still under attack

March 24, 2015 | By | Posted in WatchBlog

By Evan Grossman | Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — A national education reform organization charges school choice and education freedom are under siege in the City of Brotherly Love.

NO CHOICE: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has taken an adversarial position against charter

Read the rest