Last-Minute Budget Proposal Includes 2 Cuts

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Carlinda Purcell waited until the very last minute – literally.

At 4:59 p.m., just moments before a 5 p.m. deadline, the Reading School District superintendent sent an email to school board members with a proposal to close a gap in the district’s 2013-14 budget.

The deadline was set at a meeting Tuesday night after Purcell told the board the $213.6 million budget that was passed June 28 had a $180,000 hole.  The announcement drew criticism from board members frustrated by the budget process and a demand that the administration fix the problem by the end of the business day Wednesday.

James Washington II, board vice president, confirmed he received an email from Purcell at 4:59 p.m.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=493735

For At Least 20 Years, Interlocking Problems Have Plagued Wilkinsburg Schools

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Wilkinsburg School District, almost half of students don’t graduate.

A third of students have been involved in incidents that threatened school safety.  On state tests, 86.4 percent of 11th graders aren’t proficient in math and 68.3 percent aren’t proficient in reading.

The district is hemorrhaging students to charter schools.  It borrowed $3 million for general operating expenses and has furloughed about 80 teachers in the past three years.

Some residents are taken aback when asked for their assessment of the district, seeing it as self-evident that the district has already fallen off the cliff.

“Honestly, it’s too far gone,” said Wilkinsburg resident Stephanie Shea.  “Code blue happened a while ago.  At this point, it needs to be totally dismantled.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/education/for-at-least-20-years-interlocking-problems-have-plagued-wilkinsburg-schools-691087/#ixzz2VpYDUujs

Atlantic City’s Aging Casinos, Storm Aftermath And A Glut Of Gambling Capacity Spell Trouble

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boa...

English: Picture of the Tropicana from the Boardwalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY — Can this casino resort be saved?

Over Memorial Day weekend, it was easy to see all is not well here.  Eight of the 12 casinos predate the mid-1980s — carpets are grungy, paint is chipping off the walls, and far fewer employees are working the gaming floors.

As the sun broke through after a blustery Friday and Saturday, the Sunday crowds picked up on the Boardwalk. By midafternoon, it teemed with strollers and patrons at the outdoor restaurants.

But parking was available at several casino garages, a telltale sign it was not the hoped-for blockbuster weekend.  Business volume varied among properties.

At the newer Borgata, for example, there was a waiting list in the poker room and a steady stream of traffic throughout the casino.  At the barely year-old Revel, which just emerged from bankruptcy and opened new smoking lounges Friday, the sixth-floor casino parking level was filled with cars for the first time.  At dowdy Trump Plaza, meanwhile, an older generation half-filled the intimate gaming floor, and people in their 20s and 30s packed its outdoor beach bar.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/atlantic-citys-aging-casinos-storm-aftermath-and-a-glut-of-gambling-capacity-spell-trouble-689842/#ixzz2UsvznxAo

Detroit’s Davos: Op-Ed Piece From The NY Times

Map of Michigan

Map of Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ONCE a year, business and political leaders from metropolitan Detroit travel to an island resort that bans all motorized vehicles and talk about the regional economy.

For me, memories of childhood vacations at that resort, Mackinac Island — the ferry ride, the fudge shops, the horse-drawn carriages — are primarily olfactory.  In the unlikely event I’m ever again hit with the dueling scents of confectioner’s exhaust and horse manure, it would probably trigger some kind of Proustian flashback.

For years, Michigan’s business community seemed bent on flashbacks of its own, to the days when the Big Three automakers towered arrogantly from the safe confines of an insular culture.  But now its buzzwords are “innovation,” “entrepreneurship” and a “21st-century global market.”  This week’s Mackinac Policy Conference has positioned itself as a sort of Midwestern Davos, with a roster of marquee speakers, including Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush and the hosts of “Morning Joe.”

The topic on everyone’s mind will be the fate of Detroit, which was placed under state control in March by Gov. Rick Snyder.  The governor, a Republican, is attending the conference, and four of the candidates running for mayor in November are scheduled to speak there today — among them, the front-runners: the excellently named former police chief Benny Napoleon, and Mike Duggan, who has a serious shot at becoming the first white mayor of Detroit in 40 years.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/opinion/detroits-davos.html?_r=0

‘Catastrophic’ Budget Laid Out By Philly Schools

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the “catastrophic” budget picture Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. laid out Thursday comes to pass, Philadelphia schools would be virtually unrecognizable come September.

There could be no money for counselors or librarians. There might be no sports or extracurricular activities. No dedicated funds for secretaries, aides, or summer school would be provided. And that would follow the steep cuts made over the last two years.

There also could be 3,000 layoffs, including some teachers.

This doomsday scenario comes as a result of a deficit of more than $300 million in the district’s $2.7 billion 2013-14 budget. Officials have asked for $120 million in additional funding from the state and $60 million from the city, as well as $133 million in concessions from labor unions.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20130419__Catastrophic__budget_laid_out_by_Philly_schools.html

Mayer Tells Yahoo Staffers They Can’t Work From Home

Deutsch: Logo von Yahoo

Deutsch: Logo von Yahoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SAN FRANCISCO — Corporate America’s most famous working mother has banned her employees from working at home.  Now the backlash is threatening to overshadow the progress she has made turning around Yahoo Inc.

Marissa Mayer, one of only a handful of women leading Fortune 500 companies, has become the talk of Twitter and Silicon Valley for her controversial move to end telecommuting at the struggling Internet pioneer.

From the start, Mayer, who at 37 is one of Silicon Valley’s most notorious workaholics, was not the role model that some working moms were hoping for.  The former Google Inc. executive stirred up controversy by taking the demanding top job at Yahoo when she was five months pregnant and then taking only two weeks of maternity leave.  Mayer built a nursery next to her office at her own expense to be closer to her infant son and work even longer hours.

Now working moms are in an uproar because they believe that Mayer is setting them back by taking away their flexible working arrangements.  Many view telecommuting as the only way time-crunched women can care for young children and advance their careers without the pay, privilege or perks that come with being the chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/chi-mayers-tells-yahoo-staffers-they-cant-work-from-home-20130225,0,2512436.story

Lackawanna County Eliminates Four More Jobs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lackawanna County is eliminating four more positions, bringing to 28 the number of county jobs slashed over the past two months to help balance the 2013 budget.

Cutting the four positions will save $184,837 in salaries and benefits next year, according to figures provided by the commissioners’ office.

Chief of staff Maria Elkins said Thursday the latest cuts include the elimination of a secretary’s position in the Department of Human Resources, which will result in a layoff.

Two vacant positions will also be cut, effective at the end of the year, she said. They are an accountant position in the treasurer’s office and a clerk position in the clerk of judicial records office.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/lackawanna-county-eliminates-four-more-jobs-1.1422148

Police Union, Pottsville City Council Share Ideas In Effort To Avoid Officer Layoffs

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

View of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a one-hour, closed-door meeting Thursday night, members of Pottsville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 44 and the city council have come up with a few concepts that might save jobs, according to FOP President Brian Kotzmoyer.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Kotzmoyer said.

“Both sides realized we’re doing our best to try to avoid layoffs. The officers put forth some ideas about cost-savings initiatives and some things they can do to generate more revenue on our end,” said Councilman Mark Atkinson, who chairs the council’s public safety committee.

When asked for his thoughts after the meeting, Councilman Michael P. Halcovage, who chairs the finance committee, said: “We’re just throwing around ideas.  I can’t give you any specifics.”

Read more:  http://republicanherald.com/news/police-union-pottsville-council-share-ideas-in-effort-to-avoid-officer-layoffs-1.1413124

Daniel Boone School Board Proposes Cutting All Programs, Laying Off 40 To Balance Budget

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO — For the first time in the recent history of the Daniel Boone School District, the following year’s budget is balanced in December.

District administration achieved that zero deficit with the maximum tax increase allowed with the use of two exceptions through Act 1 of 2006, eliminating kindergarten and all student activities including sports and band, and furloughing 40 professional staff.

The board hasn’t approved the budget, though, nor any of those revenue and expenditure measures.

Board President Andrew Basile said in a budget meeting last night that it won’t do that until next June unless concessions can be reached through its contractual partners, or unless there would be additional state revenue.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121207/NEWS01/121209541/daniel-boone-board-proposes-cutting-all-programs-laying-off-40-to-balance-budget

Union Head: Wilkes-Barre Cutting 11 Firefighters

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wilkes-Barre city will lay off 11 firefighters effective this Saturday, the president of the Wilkes-Barre Firefighters Association said today.

“It feels like I got hit by a truck,” said President Mike Bilski.

Bilski met today with Mayor Tom Leighton, who informed Bilski of the city’s decision.  Bilski said he notified all of his union members.

Leighton has warned of layoffs since October when he asked the city’s nearly 290 employees for voluntary furloughs and retirements.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/union-head-wilkes-barre-cutting-11-firefighters-1.1410036

Birdsboro Faces $114,000 Deficit As Tax Revenue Drops

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police Chief Theodore R. Roth spent most of Monday night’s Birdsboro Borough Council meeting silently staring at a copy of the 2013 budget spreadsheet.

But after more than 90 minutes of listening to council discuss how to balance next year’s $1.85 million budget, Roth could no longer keep quiet about rumors that his department was going to be downsized.

“I hear you’re facing two options, both of which are not very palatable,” he told council. “I’m asking what are those options but it seems like no one is willing to say it in public.”

Roth said his officers had heard that council discussed cutting an officer during recent executive sessions.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=418218

Reading School District Debt Called Near Its Limit

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The financial picture for the Reading School District isn’t pretty.

That news should come as no surprise as the district is fresh off a rough budget process that saw dozens of employees laid off and five schools closed.

But exactly where the district stands may not have been crystal clear.

That’s why the business office put together a special presentation this week to fill the Reading School Board in on the district’s financial trends.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412937

In Amity Township, Show Of Force For Cop

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Three cheers for the residents of Amity Township!

Officer John Coe was looking to settle down.

After serving in Iraq with the Marine Corps and getting a Purple Heart, Coe started working as a junior officer for the Amity Township police department in 2009.

Coe, now 31, and his wife, Georgiana, had two children, a 14-month-old son and a 2-month-old daughter, and sold their house in July to look for a larger home for their family.

A few days later their world turned upside down.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=405515

Reading School District Seeks 14 Administrators; Teachers Union Upset

Just two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipediaust two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

In an email sent to staff Friday, the district announced that it is looking to fill 14 administrative positions. Some are existing positions currently vacant, while others are new.

But despite appearances, district officials said, the district is not opening up its budget to create new positions.

Calling the job listings a wish list for newly hired superintendent Dr. Carlinda Purcell, school board President Yvonne L. Stroman said only seven or eight of the positions will likely be filled when school begins this fall. Stroman said only positions included in the district’s $220 million budget – such as director of secondary education and director of special education – will be filled.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396900

Reading School Board Passes Budget 5-4

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Board closes 5 schools, lays off 231 employees, raises taxes for first time in nearly a decade!

 
By the slimmest of margins, the Reading SchoolBoard passed a 2012-13 budget Wednesday night that includes more than 200 layoffs, the closing of five schools and the district’s first tax increase in nearly a decade.The $220.5 million spending plan, as well as a 2.8 percent property tax increase, passed by a vote of 5-4.

The vote brought to an end an extremely difficult budget process, which saw the board and administrators try to close a more than $40 million gap in the budget. In the end, the gap was closed to just over $14 million, which will be filled with a large portion of the district’s reserve funds.

 
 

Former Bethlehem Steel Property To Idle

 

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The owner of the financially ailing Sparrows Point steel plant is idling operations there, warning 1,975 workers Thursday that they would be laid off starting next month.

The news, which casts doubt on the future of the Baltimore County facility that was once owned by Bethlehem Steel, came as RG Steel is shopping the steel mill and its other assets to potential buyers.

RG Steel informed the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations that layoffs would begin June 4 and continue through June 18. The state said the company would be laying off 1,714 hourly and 261 salaried workers, losses that would be a significant blow to the economy.

For years, the plant has faced uncertainty before last-minute deals salvaged the mill. RG Steel is the latest owner to try to sustain steel production at the once-flourishing facility.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-allentown-sparrows-point-idle-20120525,0,7750660.story

New Orleans Newspaper Cuts Print Edition To Three Days A Week

A true-color satellite image of New Orleans ta...

A true-color satellite image of New Orleans taken on NASA’s Landsat 7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW ORLEANS, La.  (Reuters) – The 175-year-old Pulitzer Prize-winning New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper will reduce the number of days it publishes a print edition to three a week, making the Louisiana city the largest in the United States without a daily newspaper.

Advance Publications, which owns the Times-Picayune, said on Thursday it made the change because of the upheaval in the newspaper industry and the necessity to focus on its digital publications.

The company said three of its newspapers in Alabama – the Huntsville Times, Mobile Press-Register and Birmingham News – would also cut back their print editions to three days a week.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/sns-rt-us-media-neworleans-newspaperbre84o03e-20120524,0,1798086.story

Up To 364 Jobs On The Block In Reading School District

Nancy Swope knows a thing or two about education.

She’s been teaching in the Reading School District for 32 years, longer than some in the capacity crowd gathered inside the Reading School District’s board room Wednesday night have been alive, she pointed out with a smile.

Swope spoke passionately to the school board about her dedication to the district. About her passion. About giving her heart, her soul, her blood, sweat and tears to Reading schools.

It was a stark reminder of what the district will be losing.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=388948

8 Administrators Axed In Reading City Schools Purge

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The drama continues!

The Reading School Board without warning Wednesday night fired eight top administrators, including the district’s acting superintendent.

The board voted 6-2 – with James Washington and Frank Denbowski voting no – to fire Dr. J. Drue Miles, acting superintendent.

The board then voted 5-3 – with Denbowski, Washington and Rebecca Acosta voting no – to fire Miles’ two assistant superintendents, the director of elementary education, the director of secondary education, the director of student services, and both the director and assistant director of special education.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=382193

Report: Sony To Axe 10,000 Jobs In Turnaround Bid

 

The logo of Sony is not considered a "wor...

The logo of Sony is not considered a "work of authorship" because it only consists of text in a simple typeface, so it is not an object of copyright in respect to US law. However, this logo is still protected by trademark laws. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Japan’s Sony Corp. is cutting 10,000 jobs, about 6 percent of its global workforce, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday, as new CEO Kazuo Hirai looks to steer the electronics and entertainment giant back to profit after four years in the red.

The job cuts would be the latest downsizing in Japan Inc where companies from cellphone maker NEC Corp. to electronics firm Panasonic Corp. are trimming costs in the face of a strong yen and competition from rivals like Apple and Samsung Electronics.

TV makers in particular have been hit hard by the tough business climate as well as sharp price falls, with Sony, Panasonic and Sharp expecting to have lost a combined $17 billion in the fiscal year just ended.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/chi-sony-to-axe-10000-jobs-in-turnaround-bid-20120409,0,38906.story