Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago
The Daily Numbers: 50,000 tickets for the regional rails for Saturday, Sept. 26 for pope visit. 60,000 tickets sold for Sunday.175,000 tickets SEPTA had planned to sell for both days.200,000 tickets still available.600 Pa. National Guard troops being sought by Montgomery County for help with traffic and security for the pope weekend.0, how much teachers and staff will be getting paid in Chester Upland School District. The ailing district says it does not have the money to make its payroll. 300 teachers and staff who say they will be on the job to open the schools anyhow.2.8 million dollars awarded in a malpractice case against Crozer-Chester Medical Center.2, as in Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline, which has now drawn fire in the form of a civil action by the Clean Air Council.14 incidents of thefts from cars being reported in Nether Providence. Police are urging residents to lock their cars. 30 million dollars in grants, loans incorrectly handled by Cheyney University, according to state audit.111 times that a New Jersey teacher was late for work. He’ll still get to keep his job.58, age of former Sixer Darryl Dawkins, better known as ‘Chocolate Thunder.’ He died yesterday of heart failure.14 seasons Dawkins spent in the NBA.12 points, 6.1 rebounds in 726 NBA games in Dawkins’ career.2 backboards that exploded under the fury of his slam dunks.5-0 lead for the Phillies that disappeared in a 9-5 loss to the Mets.4-game sweep for the Metropolitans. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.RIP, Darryl Dawkins. The original rim rattler. I Don’t Get It: What happened to all those people mobbing the regional rails for the visit by Pope Francis. SEPTA yesterday said they still had 200,000 tickets available. Today’s Upper: Kudos to teachers and staff in Chester Upland, who yesterday indicated they would still report and open the schools, even though the district doesn’t hae the money to pay them. Quote Box: “This kind of commitment goes beyond what we ever want to ask of our staff, but as we continue to explore every possible legislative, fiscal and legal avenue to secure funds, their sacrifice is much appreciated.”- Chester Upland Receiver Francis Barnes, on word that teachers would report to work without pay.
What if they gave a papal Mass and nobody came? Well, I don't think that's going to happen. Still, I have to admit I was startled at yesterday's update from SEPTA, in particular the numbers when it comes to sales of those special regional rail passes for the weekend of the visit by Pope Francis in late September. Remember, you can't use the system without one of the special passes, and only certain stations will be operating on the routes, which will funnel folks from the suburbs downtown.For months the drumbeat was of massive throngs descending on those 18 stations, including Primos Station which is basically in our backyard here at the Daily Times.Now, I'm not so sure.SEPTA yesterday said they had sold only about 50,000 passes for Saturday, and maybe 60,000 for Sunday. Yes, those are double and triple the usual weekend regional rail ridership. But it's nowhere near what SEPTA expected. The transit agency put 175,000 passes on sale for each day.Officials indicated as many as 10,000 people could descend on beautiful downtown Primos to get on those early-morning trains on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26 and 27.But SEPTA now has more than 200,000 passes on their hands, and they're hoping sales pick up.That's probably why this week the tone of the officials in the city and the World Meeting of Families has changed. There is less talk of commuting snags, a traffic box, logistics and long walks to venues. In its place there is the 'Francis Festival Grounds.' And a huge push to get people excited about the papal visit.It was expected that 1.5 million people or more would descend on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Sunday for Pope Francis' outdoor Mass.So I ask you, are you taking the 'over' or 'under' on that number.Based on sales of those regional rail passes, I'm leaning toward the under.
I used our editorial page today to talk about the insidious nature of what happened when a madman decided to execute a television reporter and her cameraman on live TV. And also what he did after this despicable act.It has serious ramifications for those of us who toil in this business.Those are the kinds of decision I make every day.I'd be interested if you agree.It's on our editorial page.
There have been lots of cool nicknames in sports. But there was only one "Chocolate Thunder."It's still hard to believe that the man-child, Darryl Dawkins, is gone.The Sixers' great died Thursday at the age of 58.Yes, Darryl Dawkins was 58. I know, it's hard to believe.That's because this ever-smiling giant of a man always carried with him a child's smile.Dawkins entered the game literally as a child, the first player in NBA history to go from high school to the pros.Dawkins will forever be known for his ferocious dunks, which earned him that all-time moniker, "Chocolate Thunder." I can still remember watching the first time one of those fiberglass backboards shattered under the fury of a Dawkins' dunk.Dawkins spent 14 seasons in the NBA, the bulk of them with the Sixers, along with stops in New Jersey, Utah and Detroit. He averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds in 726 games.But those numbers aren't what he will be remembered for, not that they're not respectable numbers.Actually, in recent years, through his work with the Sixers, Dawkins became that most unlikely of sports characters, a truly decent and likeable guy.As I approach 60, it's hard for me to fathom that "Chocolate Thunder" is gone at 58.Columnist Jack McCaffery offers an appreciation of a most special Philadelphia athlete.
The Daily Numbers: 24 million dollars, what Michael Markman and his firm BET Investments, paid for the Granite Run Mall. 2 stores that remain open at the site, Sears and Boscov’s. 15 of November to 15 of December, when demolition of the rest of the mall is likely to occur. It will be replaced by a town center style development mixing residential and retail. 1 person struck and killed by an Amtrak train in Norwood last night. 8.7 million dollars the Chester Upland School District already owes charter schools. That’s part of the reason a Delco judge nixed a new financial recovery plan, because it did not address this debt. 23 million dollar deficit for the troubled school district. That is expected to grow to $40 million by the end of the school year. 2 million dollars in state aid available to Delco municipalities affected by June’s severe summer thunderstorm that rocked the region. 10 minute storm with winds of 70 mph that wreaked havoc, especially in western Delco. 1,000 pages of documents in the Kathleen Kane probe released yesterday by the courts. They contain hundreds of porn emails that Kane alleges were routinely swapped by office members under her predecessor. 46 percent of registered voters in Pa. who believe Attorney General Kathleen Kane should resign, according to new Frannklin & Marshall poll. 54 percent of of Republicans want her to go; just 47 percent of Independents; and 40 percent of Democrats. 2 in 5 - 39 percent - in Pa. believe Gov. Tom Wolf is doing excellent or good job. 54 percent believe the Legislature is more at fault for the state budget standoff; 29 percent point finger at Wolf 66 percent believe state lawmakers should not be paid during the standoff. 2 TV station employees killed during live report yesterday morning in Virginia. 12 consecutive life terms without parole for Colorado movie theater rampge gunman James Holmes. 2 U.S. soldiers killed by an Afghan solider at a military base in western Afghanistan. 3 runs surrendered by Phils’s starter Jerad Eickhoff in 1st inning vs. Mets last night. 1 error on fly ball that proved costly in that inning. 16 straight retired by Eickhoff at one point after the 1st inning. 6 innings pitched by Eickhoff, 4 runs and 6 strikeouts in his 2nd start for Phils. 42, age of Bartolo Colon, who got the win for the Mets. 8 straight wins for Mets over Phils. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The only thing worse than a losing streak is losing to the Mets. I Don’t Get It: No, we don’t have issues in this country with gun violence and mental health. I don’t get it. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the staff at WDBJ in Virginia, who were tasked with working under the worst imaginable conditions yesterday after two of their co-workers were gunned down during a live report. Quote Box: “The ruling ensures that Chester’s children will be able to return to their classrooms, next month, at the same time that the rest of the students across the Comonwealth will.” - Vahan Gureghian, head of Chester Community Charter School, after judge’s ruling rejecting state plan to cut reimbursements to charter schools.
This one is personal. We run a lot of stories every day in print and online.A lot of those stories deal with very sad, tragic incidents.And the bottom line is that a lot of those stories also make some people very angry.They are upset about what we reported, sometimes they way we reported it, or simply are looking to vent at someone at the newspaper. That usually brings them to me.Every day I field phone calls from readers who are irate with something we've reported.Sometimes they even come into the office.It's not exactly a part of the job that I relish. But it's also one of the most important things I do here every day. I always listen carefully to what the people have to say, and offer an explanation as to why we did what we did.I also almost always someone who is unhappy with our coverage the opportunity to write a letter or a piece for our op-ed pages offering their version of events or why they think we got it wrong.I'll be honest. Sometimes we just flat got something wrong. When that happens, we correct that information.But most of the time, I'm in a situation where I know I am not going to assuage this person's visceral feelings for me - or the newspaper. I understand why that is. Many times these people are grieving and simply want to vent. If they want to yell at someone for awhile, I allow them to do that.Sometimes people who are upset with the newspaper are not satisfied with a phone call. Sometimes they want to tell me what they think face to face. When that happens, I bring them into my office and again listen intently to what they have to say. I offer my version, and again usually they just want to tell me what they think. I give them that opportunity.I was thinking about that yesterday as I followed the details of the horrific incident in Virginia where a television reporter and her cameraman were gunned down while they were doing a live report. Both died. The woman they were interviewing was wounded but is expected to recover.In this case, it turned out the suspect, who later took his own life, was a disgruntled employee.Two things went through my mind as I followed the story.One, I wonder just what it is that could push a person to that edge, and the many times I've dealt with people who felt aggrieved at something the newspaper did. It's not an especially comforting feeling.But in the ensuing unsettling minutes and hours, I again confronted something about what I do for a living that was less than reassuring.The way we deliver information to readers has fundamentally changed. When an incident such as yesterday's tragedy occurs, the early-morning timing of the event makes print seem like eons away. We won't print again until the next morning. It becomes an online story. And that is part of the problem.We are not alone online.The gunman in this case (I don't feel the need to use his name and give him a morsel of what he wanted) captured the entire incident on video and posted it online.It's a little bit like knocking over that first domino in one of those intricate displays. You sit back and watch it cascade from there. The video exploded on social media. It was all over Twitter and Facebook, as was the live video from the TV station. The shooter's Facebook post containing the video he shot quickly "went viral," which is the new buzzword of our lives. At least at first.The auto-play feature on many Twitter and Facebook accounts meant the video played even before some people realized what it was.Fairly quickly the online world was abuzz with something else, pleas not to view or share the shocking video.That's called editing. That's the kind of decision I make every day.We did not use or post the video. We also did not use any of the stills taken from the video that wire services moved yesterday that clearly show the suspect pointing a gun at his victim.Today we mourn reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, killed while doing their jobs, something we do every day.And we wonder about the world we live in, our role in it, and the job we do every day.Yesterday, I had a fundamental decision to make as the editor of the Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com. But every user of social media and consumer of online information got to make a similar decision.Welcome to my world.
There are two big questions looming over the Chester Upland School District this morning. Parents and children have to still be wondering what will happen when - or maybe the correct word is 'if' - schools open next week.The other is something the district has been dealing with for decades. What is the answer to the district's fiscal woes.All of this is part of the fallout from this week's court ruling that saw a Delco judge reject the state's attempt to radically reduce charter school reimbursements.State officials, including Gov. Tom Wolf and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, had made it clear they were not sure if Chester Upland would be able to open without the changes they sought. And even if they did, they warned it was entirely possible the red ink the district is awash in would force them to close the doors before the end of the school year.The district is looking at a $23 million deficit, one that state officials believe could balloon to $40 million by the end of the school year.Wolf said he was disappointed in the ruling and is mulling his options at this point in terms of an appeal.Here is today's update with reaction to the court ruling.And here is our editorial.The answer to Chester Upland's woes likely lies in the Legislature, and changing the formula used to reimburse charter schools that was part of the original law that created charter schools.Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen anytime soon. How are those budget talks going?In the meantime, the children and families of Chester Upland continue to suffer.
The Daily Numbers: 40,000 dollars, what Chester Upland pays for every special education student enrolled in charter schools. 16,000 what state officials wanted to reduce that number to. The plan was rejected by a Delco judge Tuesday night.23 million dollar deficit in Chester Upland right now.20 million dollar deficit by the end of the school year even if the plan had been approved, according to 1 financial expert who testified in front of Kenney.2 men shot yesterday after a “transaction” went bad in Glenolden.3 suspects being sought in the incident.1 suspect dead and 1 sheriff’s deputy wounded during an attack at the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester yesterday. Turns out the man killed was the same man arrested for trying to scale the White House fence in February.34, age of Curtis Smith, the suspect in the West Chester attack.2 new state reps for Delco as Leanne Krueger-Braneky and Joanna McClinton took their oaths yesterday in Harrisburg, repping the 161st and 191st districts respectively.14 votes by the Pa. House that failed to override Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget vetoes on a line-item basis.30 people forced from their apartment after a ruptured gas line sparked a fire in King of Prussia.16 units in the building damaged.23 employees laid off by La Salle University in a budget crunch.12 million dollar deficit facing the school.725 students entering the Catholic college this fall, below their target.860 students in the freshman class last year.33,164 total enrollment at the school.49 percent of people in poll who believe Attorney General Kathleen Kane should step down.54 percent disapprove of the way she’s doing the job.39 percent of Democrats who believe she should go, with 37 percent saying she should stay on job16 years, how long it has been since Pa. hiked the cost of a hunting license. They’re going up.20 dollar increase over 5 years.19 dollar license now will eventually cost $39 in year five.204 point loss for the stock market yesterday, after a big early rally fizzled.6-5 loss for the Phillies to the Mets yesterday.17 wins in their last 23 games for the Mets.7 straight losses by the Phils to the New Yorkers. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You have to love Larry Bowa. The Phils’ bench coach went ballistic last night when he thought the Mets were again quick-pitching Phillies hitters. Earned him an ejection. And still more love from the Philly Phaithful. I Don’t Get It: Does anyone have an answer to financial morass that is the Chester Upland School District. Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan just got shot down. Today’s Upper: Kudos to sheriff’s department employees in Chester County, who offered a textbook reaction yesterday to an incident in which an intruder with a knife attacked a deputy. Quote Box: “Judge Kenney’s decision to reject necessary reforms to the special education rates paid by the school district to its charter schools will unfortunately allow a decades-old problem to persist, and the district’s massive budget deficit will only worsen.”- Gov. Tom Wolf, after Delco Judge Chad Kenney rejected key part of Chester Upland financial recovery plan.
Now what? Is there a Plan B for the Chester Upland School District?There had better be.That's my thought after Delaware County Judge Chad Kenney late last night rejected the key cog in Gov. Tom Wolf's financial recovery plan for the Chester Upland School District.While Kenney gave the green light to a forensic audit of the district's books and appointment of a financial recovery officer, those were merely window dressing.The guts of the plan - as you might expect - was money. In particular how much money the district reimburses local charter schools for special education students.Chester Upland pays an outrageous $40,000-plus for every special education student who attends a charter school. The Wolf plan would have reduced that to a little more than $16,000 per student. Coupled with some tweaks in regulations concerning cyberschools, Wolf, Chester Upland Receiver Francis Barnes and Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said they would be able to wipe out the district's yawning $23 million deficit and put the district on sound financial footing for the first time in decades.That's not going to happen. At least not now. Kenney rejected the state plan, calling it "wholly inadequate" in terms of repairing the district's shaky fiscal condition. He also chided the state for failing to provide enough details in terms of how they came up with this latest plan and the shift in special education funding.When they rolled out this latest recovery plan, both Wolf and his education folks made one thing clear. Without this radical action, they were not sure if Chester Upland could open its doors in September. And if they did, they hinted they may not be able to function for long, with the red ink likely growing to $40 million during the school year.Chester Upland is due to open schools the day after Labor Day.Kenney's decision is a clear victory for charter schools, in particular the biggest charter school in the state, Chester Community Charter School.But is it a win for the children of Chester Upland? Especially if their school district drowns in a sea of red ink.The ball just bounced back into the state's lap.
It was a violent day across the Philly suburbs yesterday. It started at the Chester County Justice Center in West Chester, where a man slashed a sheriff's deputy before being fatally shot by another officer. In a weird twist, the suspect, 34-year-old Curtis Smith of Coatesville, is the same guy who was arrested back in February for trying to scale the fence outside the White House in Washington, D.C.Just a few minutes later, gunshots rang out in Glenolden.Police say a "transaction" went bad. The result? Two men shot, and three men being sought.One of the men made his way across the street to a business before collapsing on the front steps.All of this happened in broad daylight. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon.The mean streets seem to get a little meaner every day.
Chase Utley is gone, but we still have Larry Bowa. Long before we fell in love with Utley - specifically the way he played the game - there was Bowa.Nothing came easy for Bowa, from the time Phillies Manager Gene Mauch belittled him as not being a major league hitter.But Bowa persisted, and he became beloved here for the 'blue-collar' way he played the game.In other words, he was Utley before there was Utley.He carried that same red streak with him into the coach's and manager's jobs, a trait that did not always go over so well with players. But it never went out of favor with the fans.That vein that always seemed to be bulging out of Bowa's neck was back in action last night.The Phillies have been upset with the way the Mets have been pitching in this series. Specifically, they believe they're being quick-pitched, with the Mets delivering to the plate before Phils' batters are ready.It happened again last night.Bowa had seen enough.The fiery bench coach went ballistic and managed to get himself kicked out of the game. The Phils went on to lose again to the Mets, 6-5.The Phillies season flat-lined a long time ago.But it's good to see some things don't change.Nothing wrong with Larry Bowa's pulse.
The Daily Numbers: 1,000 point plunge for the Dow Jones minutes after the markets opened yesterday. 588 point dip for the market at yesterday’s close.7.6 percent nosedive overnight for China’s stock market.22 million dollar deficit in the Chester Upland School District. Officials say that unless a new financial recovery plan is approved, the district will run out of money by December or January.162 apartments in the West End Flats and 23 new homes in West End Walk that got preliminary OK in Media Borough.161st state legislative district, which will get a new state rep when Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky takes the oath of office.4 hour preliminary hearing that led to all charges against Attorney General Kathleen Kane being held for trial.16,000 students and 2,000 staff members at West Chester University, which is working to eradicate an issue with Legionnaire’s Disease bacteria that has popped up in several buildings on campus.35th anniversary being celebrated at the Rachel Kohl Library in Concord.8,500 employees to be laid off with closure of A&P markets in New Jersey. That’s 5,000 more than the company indicated last week.8 home runs surrendered by the Phillies in last night’s ugly 16-7 loss to the Mets.7-2 lead for the Phils after 2 innings that went up in smoke.133 days, how long it had been since Mets captain David Wright was in the lineup. He hit a home run in his 1st at-bat.7 runs, 3 homers and 11 hits total for the Phils, not nearly enough.11 homers total in the game tied a National League record.15 extra base hits, 7 doubles & 8 home runs, for the Mets tied a team record. 2.29 ERA for Mets rookie Jacob deGrom, up from 1.98 after he was torched. He lasted only 2 innings and change. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Chip Kelly and the Eagles have a problem with the NFL and their interpreation of the read-option. They need a healthy Sam Bradford, and if he’s going to be hit every time he runs one of those plays, that will be a problem. I Don’t Get It: If the state has known about the dire fiscal straits facing the Chester Upland School District all this time, why did they wait until 2 weeks before the opening of school to make their latest recovery plan public? Today’s Upper: Kudos to the newest member of the Pennsylvania Legislature. That would be Leanne Krueger-Braneky, who will be sworn in as a state representative after winning the special election in the 161st District. Quote Box: “It has crushed the budget of the Chester Upland School District.”- Chester Upland receiver Francis Barnes, on high special education reimbursements for charter schools.
They will be holding something of a double-header in the troubled Chester Upland School District today. First, state officials and charter school proponents will return to Delaware County Court to continue yesterday's marathon hearing on the state's plan to reduce reimbursements to the charters for special education students.Yesterday the state spent hours presenting their case before Delco Judge Chad Kenney. The state's latest financial recovery plan for the district includes a forensic audit of the district books, appointment of a financial turnaround specialist, but most importantly a huge reduction in reimbursements for special education students in charters. Currently, Chester Upland pays a little more than $40,000 for every special education student enrolled in the charter schools. The state plan would reduce that amount to about $!6,000. They say the move, coupled with a change in cyberschool caps, would wipe out Chester Upland's $23 million deficit.Today attorneys for the charters schools will present the argument against the state plan.Then both sides will await Kenney's ruling.Tonight hundreds are expected to pack a meeting where the state-appointed receiver will talk about the plan with the Chester Upland School Board. So many people are expected they had to move the meeting to the high school auditorium. It starts at 6.We'll be there to cover the story every step of the way.In the meantime, we also have guest columns today from both sides.For Chester Upland's view of special education funding, click here.For the charter school's position, click here.
Give Kathleen Kane this: At least she seems to have retained her sense of humor. How else would you explain her entrance into at the Montgomery County Courthouse yesterday for her preliminary hearing on charges she leaked grand jury material and then lied to a grand jury about it?With an a small army of photographers awaiting her appearance, Kane was proceeded into court by her twin sister.Unless I'm mistaken, I don't believe she has been on hand for any of Kane's other high-profile press conferences or court appearances.Of course many in the media fell for it, snapping away with the lenses pointed at Kane's sister.The state's top law enforcement officer followed in behind her, keeping a straight face all the way.By the way, Kane was held for trial on all charges.
Chip Kelly and Sam Bradford have a problem. His name is Dean Blandino. Don't know who he is? You're not alone. At least until yesterday.Blandino is the NFL's vice president of officiating. On Monday he weighed in on the debate over the hit Ravens' defensive end Terrell Suggs delivered directly to the twice-reconstructed left knee of Eagles QB Sam Bradford in Saturday night's preseason game.Bradford was not amused, and told Suggs so. Neither were his teammates. Suggs was slapped with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the play.Suggs fired back, saying it's on the Eagles if they want to expose their quarterback in the "read-option" style of offense Kelly employs.Yesterday Blandino said Suggs was right, that he should not have flagged.Yesterday Kelly took issue with Blandino's interpretation, saying the Eagles know the rules, and specifically that the play Bradford was hit on was not a "read-option" play.But if Blandino's ruling stands, it creates a problem for Kelly and Bradford. The fact is that the Birds do run a fair amount of read-option offense. Bradford could be whacked on those plays in which he has the option to hand the ball off, or pull it back.Our Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz was on hand for both the game and yesterday's fallout. Here is how he views it.Now the ball is literally back in Kelly's court. He either has to press his case with the NFL hierarchy that it's probably not a great idea for the league's premier quarterbacks - many of whom run some version of the read-option - to be open targets.Yes, it's a violent game, and injuries will happen.But teams could easily look at what Suggs did, followed by Blandino's rules interpretation, and feel free to tee off on Bradford.Bradford was in the game Saturday night for just one series and got drilled on two of them. That does not bode well for a guy with his history of trouble staying healthy - and on the field.
The Daily Numbers: 1 p.m., when both sides in the battle over special education reimbursement will be in front of Delco Judge Chad Kenney. 40,000 dollars per student, what Chester Upland currently reimburses charter schools for special education students. 16,000 what the state wants that number reduced to. 23 million dollar deficit, what the district is currently facing. 10,000 volunteers who will be enlisted for the visit by Pope Francis. 2 bodies found in a home in Upper Darby. 2 field on Furey Road in Upper Chi that have been repaired in a year-long project. 4 regional rail line train stations that were selling those special papal passes for use on regional rails during the Sept. 26-27 visit by Pope Francis. 17 miles of roads being repaved this week, covering 11 Delco municipalities. 200 protesters who showed up Sunday to oppose 114 mile pipeline that would move natural gas from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. 32, age of off-duty Philadelphia police officer who was killed when his car struck a tree Saturday night. 1 percent of Pa. tax revenue that comes from taxes and fees generated dkirectly from the extraction of oil and natural gas. 19 people sickened by fumes in a dorm at Kutztown University on Sunday. 2 people stabbed after a dispute among groups at N.J. amusement park bubbled over. 3 Americans saluted as heroes for taking down a gunman on a packed train in France. 2 big hits taken by Sam Bradford during his debut as Eagles QB Saturday night vs. Ravens, including a low shot on that twice-rebuilt left knee. He got up both times. 3 of 5 passing for Bradford in his first action of the season. 2 straight impressive wins for the Eagles in exhibition play. 8 shutout innings tossed by Aaron Nola in a sparkling display vs. the Miami Marlins Sunday. 3 hits, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts for the Phils’ rookie. 50-74 record for the Phils, which moves them into tie with Miami for worst record in Major League Baseball. 3 straight wins over the Marlins in a sweep for the Phils. 21-12 mark for the Phils since the All-Star break. 10th save in 13 chances for Ken Giles, who pitched the 9th. 5 shutouts for the Phillies this year. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Sam Bradford took a cheap shot on his rebuilt left knee in his very first series after coming back from surgery. And he survived. I Don’t Get It: Yes, that is Labor Day and the end of summer staring off in the horizon. I don’t get it. Today’s Upper: Kudos to Wallingford-Swarthmore officials, who reviewed parents’ complaints about the new school dress code and came up with an alternate plan. Quote Box: “I am hopeful that Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, which will be such an extraordinary event in the life of the city and indeed a once-in-a-lifetime moment for most people, will be an opportunity for us to reflect upon some of the most important fits which God has given us: Life, family, faith.” - The Rev. William Donovan, the Delco priest who has played an integral part in the planning for the event.
All eyes in the Pennsylvania education community will be riveted on a Delaware County courtroom today. That's where officials with the state Department of Education will face state their case in the latest financial recovery plan for the seemingly perpetually ailing Chester Upland School District.Unveiled last week, the state's plan includes a forensic audit of the Chester Upland books, and the appointment of a financial turnaround specialist.But those are just the preliminaries.The real battle that will play out in front of Delaware County Judge Chad Kenney involves the reimbursement Chester Upland makes for special education students in the district who attend charter schools.Right now Chester Upland pays more than $40,000 for every special education student who attends a charter school. State officials are flabbergasted at that figure and want the judge to OK a plan that would slash the reimbursement to just more than $16,000.Coupled with changes in reimbursement for students attending cyberschools, the state says the move could wipe out the district's $23 million deficit.Without the changes, they say it's possible the district will not be able to open their doors in September. And if they do, they cannot guarantee how long they'll be able to stay open. That $23 million in red ink is expected to grow to more than $40 million if nothing is done.Charter school backers are not impressed. They believe they are simply going to be made the scapegoat for decades of state control and financial mismanagement that have failed to put Chester Upland on a sound financial footing.Late Friday afternoon, I had a conversation with A. Bruce Cawley. He represents Chester Community Charter School, the biggest brick and mortar charter school in the state, and the brainchild of political heavyweight Vahan Gureghian.Cawley doesn't understand why the state is making headlines over the situation in Chester Upland, but is saying nothing about similar reimbursements in more well-to-do districts.Cawley says gone are the days when charter schools were considered "interlopers" in public education. In fact, nearly half of Chester Upland students sit in charter schools. While the district has been successful in drawing some students back into the public schools, charters are no longer a novelty.Cawley says the state move is a direct attack on charter schools, as well as a move to limit choice for parents and families who for years have been saddled with a school district that failed their children.And it's not just the for-profit Chester Community Charter School. Widener University also has a big stake in the charter school business with its Widener Partnership Charter School."We think this is a direct attack on charter schools," said Widener spokesman Dan Hanson.We'll be in court today for the latest in this heavyweight education bout.
I used my print column today to offer a salute to a Lincoln man. It's not widely known that groundbreaking civil rights leader Julian Bond, who died last week, had close ties to Lincoln University. His father, Horace Mann Bond, was the first African-American president of the historically black university.Bond lived in the Oxford area during his youth, long before he started a lifetime of work in civil rights by being a campus activist at Morehouse University in Georgia.I shared something in common with Bond.We were both Lincoln men.I explain it here.
Sam Bradford had talked for weeks about his desire to get back on the field, take a hit, and then get on with his NFL career. What happened Saturday night in his first NFL action in more than a year probably wasn't what he had in mind.After a routine handoff, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs zeroed in on the Eagles QB, and his twice-reconstructed left knee. That gasp you heard from one end of Eagles nation to the other was Birds' fans holding their breath, waiting to see if Bradford would get up. He did. And he offered a few choice comments to Suggs, who was flagged for a rare roughing the quarterback penalty on a running play. A couple of plays later, Bradford took a massive - and legal - hit from another Ravens D-lineman.Bradford seemed stunned, but he got back to his feet and led the Eagles to a TD on his only series of the game.Bradford went 3-for-5 in his abbreviated debut, but it's hard to underestimate just how big this moment was.It was what everyone was wondering since Chip Kelly sent Nick Foles and a draft pick to the Rams for the oft-injured former No. 1 draft pick.Could Bradford stay healthy? Would his left knee hold up under the rigors of the barely controlled mayhem that is NFL Football. We didn't have to wait long to find out.The Suggs' hit was a classic shot to the knee, the kind that often results in a QB writing in pain on the ground with his arms holding his lower leg.Bradford seemed to at least see Suggs coming and was able to brace himself for Suggs as the linebacker went airborne and came in low on the Eagles QB.For his part, Suggs defended the play, and reminded people that this was a real, live NFL game. He said that if the Eagles planned to exspose Bradford and his knee to hits in a read-option offense, that's not his problem. No red shirt for Bradford here. The only red here was the ire of Bradford, his teammates and Eagles fans at what seemed like a cheap shot.It won't be the last time that happens this year.Make no mistake, the fact that the Eagles bulldozed the Ravens for the second straight impressive preseason win was not the most important thing that happened at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday night.Sam Bradford got hit. Right on that troublesome left knee. And he got up.You can exhale now, Eagles fans.
The ground troops are coming out in the Battle of Chester Upland. John Hanger, secretary of planning and policy for Gov. Tom Wolf, along with Education Secretary Pedro Rivera, were in town yesterday. They paid a visit to officials at Chester Upland School District, the day after rolling out a new financial recovery plan to put the perpetually broke district on an even economic keel.They want to do a thorough forensic audit of the district's books, as well as appointing a financial turnaround specialist to aid Francis Barnes, who is serving as the receiver of the troubled district, which has found itself under some form of state control since 1990.But those are only the preliminaries. The real battle is a push in court by the state to drastically reduce reimbursements for charter schools students.The Wolf plan - if implemented - would reduce the reimbursement for special education students from $40,000 to a little more than $16,000. State officials say that, coupled with some tweaks in cybercharter schools, the move would wipe out Chester Upland's #23 million deficit.You read it right. They claim they could actually put Chester Upland in the black.The flip side is that if this plan is not approved, they say there is a chance Chester Upland will not be able to open their doors in September. And if they do, there is no guarantee as to how long they would be able to continue to operate. If it goes unchecked, the district's deficit could grow to more than $40 million by the end of the year, this despite at least $75 million in additional funding give the district just since 2010.After they toured the district, Hanger and Rivera stopped by our offices for a sit-down.During that conversation, I learned something I did not know about the recovery plan.The reduction in reimbursement would only pertain to special education students, of which there is a disproportionate large number in schools such as Chester Community Charter School, the largest brick-and-mortar in the state and a huge drain on Chester Upland finances. Until last year, more than half of students in the district were enrolled in Chester Community Charter.According to Hanger, there are approximately 30 percent of students in charter schools in Chester Upland designated as special education. The change they are proposing would have no effect on reimbursements for the other 70 percent of students.If you're getting the feeling that there is a lot of money tied up in the lucrative education of special education students, you are not alone.Count the state budget secretary, the guy with his fingers on the purse strings, among that group."It's extraordinary," said Secretary Randy Albright of Chester Upland's special education reimbursements, which come to a cool $40,315 per child, much higher than most district in the state. "It's not something we can keep doing. It's literally bankrupting the district."As you might imagine, the folks at the charter schools don't see it that way.Last night they held a rally outside Chester Upland's administrative offices to protest the proposed plan. It coincided with a meeting of the Chester Upland School Board. The crowd filled the room and spilled outside.Charter school officials are painting this as an attack on special education in the district."There were hundreds of unhappy people here tonight,," said Dr. David Clark Jr., CEO of Chester Community Charter School. "Charter schools in Chester have an enrollment that equals 55 percent of the student population in the city. We only receive 45 percent of the revenue, so do the math. Now you are talking about taking away 10 percent of the 45 percent."He slammed the plan as being little more than "robbing Peter to pay Paul."The two sides will collide again on Monday when state officials will make their case before Delaware County Judge Chad Kenny.It should be a packed house.