Week in Review: Big money in Philly, ethical lapses at liquor control


By PA Independent Staff

This week we learned the Philadelphia School District is strapped for cash, but some of its employees certainly aren’t. And there were also the long-awaited results of an ethics investigation into former Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board officials and a state Senate race that shook up the GOP.

Here’s a look back at the week:

Philly school district is broke, but money is good for staff

Salaries for employees in the Philadelphia school district are staggering.

The district has 10 superintendents who make a combined $1.64 million annually. Superintendent William Hite tops the list at $270,000, and his deputy makes $210,000. Eight assistant superintendents each make $145,000.

LOOKING BACK: Salary data shows plenty of high salaries for the Philadelphia School District, while a long-awaited report shed light on ethical lapses within the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

In total, 395 employees on the district payrolls make more than $100,000, although not a single one is a teacher or a staff member who spends the majority of his or her time in the classroom.

Read the full story here.

Gifts galore for former PLCB officials

A long anticipated report from the state Ethics Commission revealed that three former officials with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board accepted lavish gifts from vendors doing business with them.

They’ll have to pay restitution after they failed to disclose the gifts under state law. Some say that’s a small price to pay for the ethical lapses that came with the vendor-provided golf trips, free meals and alcohol.

While the Ethics Commission agreed it wouldn’t recommend that outside law enforcement act on the matter, Attorney General Kathleen Kane has asked the Dauphin County district attorney to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

Read the full story here

Philadelphia charter school sues public school district

A charter school is suing the School District of Philadelphia and its five-member executive School Reform Commission for suspending provisions in the Pennsylvania Public School Code.

The suspensions, the lawsuit says, “jeopardize the very existence of charter schools in Philadelphia.”

The lawsuit argues the SRC’s power to unilaterally suspend regulations is unconstitutional because it violates a charter school’s right to due process.

It became a contentious issue in August, with the approval of SRC-1. The resolution enables the district to force schools to accept enrollment caps and deprives schools the possibility of reimbursement from the state Department of Education if the district fails to make payments for students.

West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School is the first to take major action.

Read the full story here.

Wagner shakes up GOP with write-in win

Upstart conservative Scott Wagner won a special election to the state Senate, claiming a stunning victory after running a write-in campaign against a party-backed Republican state representative and a Democratic candidate.

The election, held to fill the retired state Sen. Mike Waugh, included plenty of nasty campaigning and political intrigue.

Some voters said they supported Wagner after they felt Republican state Rep. Ron Miller’s campaign went too negative. Others said they didn’t like that it appeared as if Republican leadership was trying to script the election in Miller’s favor after setting up a special election the same day Waugh retired.

Read the full story here.

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