Archive

Former superintendent disputes critical audit findings

September 17, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Former school superintendent Maria Pappas has run afoul of the Pennsylvania auditor general’s office, which notes in a September report slightly more than $20,000 in “questionable use of taxpayers’ funds,” either by Pappas … Read the rest

Grassroots effort pushes along PA property tax reform

September 17, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Tammy Keener of Berks County clapped, cheered and even cried Tuesday morning as state senators on the Finance Committee debated legislation to eliminate school property taxes.

When the panel narrowly approved … Read the rest

With $1 billion annual debt payment, state lawmakers eye borrowing limits

September 16, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — With about $10 billion of debt on the books, Pennsylvania certainly will feel the effects of borrowing in its yearly budget.

Debt service will cost Pennsylvanians about $1 billion this fiscal year, … Read the rest

Violent schools? A Philadelphia charter has answers

September 15, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Stacia Friedman | Special to Watchdog.org

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia School District recently crowed that for the first time none of its schools made the state’s notorious “persistently dangerous” list.

But that announcement came after the revelation that the district … Read the rest

Turzai wants Corbett to put on ‘full-court press’ for liquor privatization

September 12, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett already spent much of his summer traveling across Pennsylvania to stump for pension reform, but House Majority Leader Mike Turzai wants him to get back on the road … Read the rest

Airport coal fire illustrates costly cleanup across mine country

September 10, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection says it has a plan to finally quench a “coal pile fire” near runways at the Pittsburgh International Airport, though it’s just one of scores of similar fires … Read the rest

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

In Pennsylvania, buying beer out of state makes you a bootlegger

September 2, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

Adam Vickers is a just a regular guy who works for a general contractor and sometimes takes the back way home from work in Maryland. On occasion, he stops at a rural liquor store … Read the rest

No rest for the death industry as it awaits high court decision

August 28, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — The U.S. Supreme Court will decide this fall whether to hear a case concerning an alleged “antiquated,” “protectionist regime” in Pennsylvania’s death industry.

Those bringing the case say it could affect all Americans. The … Read the rest

With school budgets tight, prevailing wage again goes under microscope

August 28, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

HARRISBURG, Pa. — When the Central York School District wanted to repair the roof on a middle school about two years ago, the school board found itself playing a game of financial chicken.

The roof … 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

Hailing the chief: Pittsburgh’s hunt for a police chief drawing to a close

August 26, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH —With its most recent chief of police living in a medium-security federal prison 600 miles away, the city has been searching for someone to lead the Bureau of Police.

The search is finally nearing an end.

It … Read the rest

Conflicting rules create ethics conundrum for mortuary inspector

August 25, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania has some issues with death.

Specifically, Pennsylvania has some problems regulating the hows and whys of handling those who are no longer with us. And perhaps oddly, it also has issues with … 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

Microlending grows small business in Pittsburgh

August 20, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — Merely driving through some of Pittsburgh’s careworn, left-behind neighborhoods is sobering.

But there are bright spots — some that came to life through innovative microfinancing.

Healcrest Urban Farm is just one. During … Read the rest

Riding with Uber, as it faces down regulators

August 19, 2014 | By | Posted in General News

By Rachel Martin | Watchdog.org

PITTSBURGH — While lawyers and judges continue trudging through the regulatory trenches, Uber drivers continue to pick up passengers, even though they risk daily fines. Drivers continue to relish the flexible opportunity that provides a speedy service … Read the rest

As clock ticks, lawmakers devise plan to revive property tax elimination bill

August 19, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Governor, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

One year and five months — that’s how long bipartisan legislation that would eliminate school property taxes in Pennsylvania has been stuck in the Pennsylvania Senate’s Finance Committee.

“It seems like we’ve been pushing it … Read the rest

Lawmaker wants higher cigarette tax to fund property tax relief

August 12, 2014 | By | Posted in General News, Legislature

By Andrew Staub | PA Independent

All the talk about hiking the cigarette tax in Philadelphia to help fund city schools has some state lawmakers wondering, what about the rest of the state?

State Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester, wants … Read the rest