MAYOR NUTTER TO HOST THIRD PEP RALLY AND VIEWING PARTY FOR TANEY DRAGONS LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES GAME

WHO:            Mayor Michael A. Nutter

WHAT:          Mayor Nutter will host a pep rally and viewing party for Philadelphia’s own Taney Dragons, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Little League champions, as they play Mountain Ridge Little League from Las Vegas, Nevada, 2014 West Little League champions, in the Little League World Series.

                        The Taney Dragons beat Pearland, Texas 7-6 on Sunday to advance to the U.S. semifinal on Wednesday.

WHERE:        City Hall Courtyard, City Hall

WHEN:          Wednesday, August 20, 2014   

6:30 PM – Pep Rally

7:30 PM – Game start time        

Posted in Media Advisory

MAYOR NUTTER ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE SWEARING IN OF AT-LARGE COUNCILMAN ED NEILSON

Mayor Michael A. Nutter issued the following statement on today’s swearing in of at-large City Councilman Ed Neilson:

“Congratulations to our newest member of the Philadelphia City Council, Ed Neilson. I’ve enjoyed working with him on behalf of the City when he was a State Representative, and now I look forward to working with him in our City Council. Ed served in Governor Rendell’s administration as a Deputy Secretary of Labor and he has been both a mentor and sports coach in his community. To Ed, his wife and their five sons, I offer my congratulations on this new step in his personal and political career.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

Mayor Nutter To Host Pep Rally And Viewing Party For Taney Dragons Little League World Series Game

WHO: Mayor Michael A. Nutter

WHAT: Mayor Nutter will host a pep rally and viewing party for Philadelphia’s own Taney Dragons, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Little League champions, as they play South Nashville Little League, 2014 Southeast Little League champions, in the Little League World Series.

The Taney Dragons went 5-1 in the Mid-Atlantic Little League regional division, clinching their spot with an 8-0 victory over Delaware state champions, Newark National Little League.

WHERE: City Hall Courtyard, City Hall

WHEN: Friday, August 15, 2014
2:00 PM – Pep Rally
3:00 PM – Game start time

Posted in Media Advisory

City Of Philadelphia Releases After School Activities Widget

Winning Philly311 Widget contest app now available. 

Philadelphia, August 7, 2014–  The City of Philadelphia released a new widget, the After School Activities widget, which enables users to learn more about after school activities and programs in their neighborhoods.  As the winning idea for the 2013 Philly311 Widget Contest, the After School Activities widget is accessible through the Philly311 Mobile App.

“In the face of so many daunting challenges around education, it’s great that technology can help spread the word about vital after school programs to help our children make progress and further their education,” said Managing Director Richard Negrin.

The After School Activities widget was created by Chris Alfano, a Code for Philly Brigade Captain, in collaboration with the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP), which compiled the after school program data from program providers for the app.

“At Code for Philly, we’re always looking for ways technology can amplify the hard work already being done by Philadelphians to improve our community,” Chris Alfano said.  “We know a mobile app widget can’t replace the shortage of resources facing Philly students.  But we can at least help those working to close the gap, by making their programs easy to access and easy to discover by students and their parents.”

The After Schools Activities widget is interactive and easy to search, filtering programs by grades served, available hours and ASAP clubs, including chess, debate, drama and Scrabble.  Users can also view a map of available programming or enable the widget to use their geographic location to show nearby activity locations.

“Philadelphia has an abundance of high-quality after school activities that offer safe and engaging opportunities for youth of all ages and interests.  To help families find the right program for their child, ASAP’s directory looks to share information on all of these activities – from Arts & crafts to Zumba – in a format that is comprehensive yet easy-to-use,” said Justin Ennis, Executive Director, After School Activities Partnership.  “The launch of the new After School widget on the City’s 311 mobile platform represents a huge leap forward in ASAP’s effort to provide families quick access to this vital information so that they can make informed decisions.”

The Philly311 Mobile App, which houses the After School Activities widget, is available for free download on any iPhone, Android or Blackberry device.

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After School Activities Partnership

ASAP aims to provide safe and supervised after school programming for youth in Philadelphia, and supports chess, Scrabble, drama, and debate clubs for students of all ages.  The organization was created in 2002 at the request of City leaders to bring to public awareness the dangers of the afternoon hours for unsupervised youth in Philadelphia.  For more information, visit www.phillyasap.org.

Code for Philly

Code for Philly is volunteering 2.0.  It creates opportunities for citizens to modernize Philadelphia through the power of the web.  Founded under Code for America’s inaugural Brigade Program in 2012, Code for Philly currently hosts a weekly meet-up and participates in a number of hack-a-thons and web-based City projects. Code for Philly is non-partisan and non-political.  For more information, visit codeforphilly.org.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

Mayor Nutter’s Testimony Before Pa Senate Committee On Education Funding Crisis

Philadelphia, August 6, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter testified before the Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Appropriations in Philadelphia City Council Chambers this morning. His prepared remarks follow, check against delivery.

“Good morning Chairman Hughes, members of this esteemed committee, and all the members of the Pennsylvania Senate.  Thank you for being in Philadelphia this morning, and a special thank you to the members who do not directly represent Philadelphia – thank you for your interest in our schools and our children.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this critical issue facing all of us in Philadelphia, southeastern Pennsylvania, and the entire Commonwealth.

I am honored to sit next to Dr. William Hite this morning.  He is a true champion of children.

Let me start by stating a simple truth: without enactment of the cigarette tax, the School District of Philadelphia does not have the necessary revenue to open schools on time, safely, and for the entire year.

That is unacceptable. It would mean Philadelphia’s children will not have their right to a quality education delivered to them – not because of anything they have done, but because of the actions – or in this instance, the inactions – of adults.

Let me also be clear that this catastrophe will not only impact the children in our district-operated schools but also in our charter-operated schools.

We are in this place today not because of a lack of aggressive action by the School District leadership, the SRC, or their staffs.

These are the facts:

The District has taken monumental actions in an attempt to compensate for cuts in state funding and rapidly increasing costs in areas like pensions and other costs of the largest school district in Pennsylvania. The District has cut over 5,000 positions; it has closed 32 schools and slashed its administrative costs by over 50%.

I can point to no other public institution across this Commonwealth that can equal this level of sacrifice. The District has had no choice.

It had to take those steps just to avoid running out of money, but those cuts have meant that students have not received the level of education to which they are entitled as Pennsylvanians. The District simply does not have the resources to provide the type of education its students deserve.

Without the cigarette tax, the District will not even be able to provide the current inadequate level of education it provided during the last school year.

At the end of the last school year, I had the opportunity to visit a number of schools to talk to children, teachers, parents and administrators about how they were affected by the lack of funding for their schools.  One of those schools was Bartram High School.

There is only one nurse at Bartram.  They have gone from four counselors to two.  They have seen a reduction in total staff from 166 positions to only 97 positions in just the last three or four years.  That’s almost 40% less staff – adults whose job it was to support the education of children. This is unacceptable.

This potential catastrophe is also not due to a failure of Philadelphia residents to support their schools.  Since 2011, Philadelphia’s taxpayers have increased their support of the School District by more than $325 million recurring annually.

To put that funding increase in context, that $325 million is more than the amount that the City has budgeted this fiscal year for our Fire Department, Parks and Recreation, and the Free Library of Philadelphia combined.

We have raised taxes on our citizens time after time for our students.

Despite all of that effort by the School District and Philadelphia’s taxpayers, the school year is still in peril.   As we sit here this morning, we do not know if schools will open safely and on time in September.

The District faces a recurring structural gap between its revenues and its expenditures, in large part because the revenues it receives from the state have been slashed and economic stimulus money expired at the same time that costs in areas like pensions, healthcare and debt service have risen rapidly.

And in spite of the constant state of crisis, the Philadelphia School District – and more importantly, our students – has still increased graduation rates by 11 percent in the last seven years and sought to generate opportunities to innovate, even with its wholly insufficient resources.

The District will be opening three schools in North Philadelphia to deliver a highly personalized proficiency-based education similar to many popular magnet and lottery-based charter schools, but targeted to students in surrounding neighborhoods.

And through the School Redesign Initiative, the District has invited local stakeholders, including educators, parents, community groups, and universities, to propose innovative, transformative ideas to fundamentally redesign existing schools.

We must also recognize the efforts of committed parents, students, teachers, and advocates throughout the City who have stepped into the breach to alleviate some of the effects of the crisis with their own talents, resources, time, and commitment.

Positive as these things may be, they simply cannot make up for the fundamental resource gap from which our school system suffers.

The legislature can take action that will ensure that Philadelphia’s school children can attend school safely as scheduled on September 8th and for a full school year – return to Harrisburg and enact the cigarette tax as quickly as possible.

The cigarette tax would in fact generate about $83 million in its first full year. That means that each month the tax would generate about $7 million and that any delay in implementation means millions of dollars in support our students that they will never receive.

Merely advancing funds that the District was already including in its budget for the current fiscal year anyway does not compensate for that loss. The District needs NEW revenue to close its $81 million budget gap – merely getting money earlier in the year does nothing to close the gap.

You have probably heard people question the $83 million estimate for the cigarette tax.

While no one can guarantee how much revenue a new tax will generate, let me assure you that our Health Department based its estimates on reviewing literally decades of research on the impact of increases in the costs of cigarettes, including the impact of cigarette taxes in New York and Chicago.

Yes, the tax will result in a reduction in the number of people who smoke – and that’s actually a positive element.  And, yes, some people may buy their cigarettes elsewhere to avoid the tax.  The Health Department built all of these factors into its projections.

Those arguments about how much the tax will generate are just a distraction.  No matter what actually happens, we know the tax will generate desperately needed revenue, revenue that is critical simply to maintain the current, inadequate level of functioning.

Delay equates directly to further painful losses for our students. It is that simple. The legislature needs to take action and it needs to take that action as quickly as possible. The task is not difficult, but it is vital.

Each house must come back for one day, one hour, and take one vote to finally pass the enabling legislation that both houses have actually already agreed to.  We need them to go back to work so our children can go back to school.

The actions the legislature can take now will impact the education of 200,000 students here in Philadelphia now and in the future.

That concludes my testimony and I’m happy to take any questions you may have.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

Mayor Nutter Visits Free Summer Meals Sites

Encourages Philadelphia youth to participate in free summer meals and the Summer Reading Challenge

Philadelphia, August 1, 2014– Mayor Michael A. Nutter participated in a tour of free summer meals sites in the Kensington community as part of the 2014 Fun Safe Philly Summer campaign, an initiative that connects youth and their families to free and low-cost summer programming and promotes access to free summer meals.  During the portion of the tour at McPherson Square Library, Mayor Nutter promoted the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Summer Reading: 30-Million-Minute Challenge encouraging kids, teens and adults to continue reading throughout the summer.

“Fun Safe Philly Summer collaborates with partners across Philadelphia to ensure that young people have a meaningful summer, filled with access to free and low-cost programming and free meals funded by the United States Department of Agriculture,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “As we begin August, it is critical that our young people continue to eat nutritious meals and keep their minds and bodies healthy so that when they return to a structured learning environment they are ready to excel.

To start the tour, Mayor Nutter visited a Playstreet located on the 700 block of E. Willard Street.  Playstreets are Philadelphia Parks & Recreation sponsored meal sites where tertiary streets are closed to traffic during the day for children to receive free meals and a safe space to play. There are more than 500 Playstreets throughout the city.

Mayor Nutter also visited McPherson Square Library because it hosts summer meals and summer reading for youth. The Summer Reading: 30-Million-Minute Challenge, hosted by the Free Library, provides kids, teens and adults with incentives and prizes for participating in summer reading. By signing up for a library card and checking-out books, participants are entered into a drawing for prizes. Upcoming prize drawings will be on August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27 and September 3.

“The Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation offer children fun physical, social and educational opportunities,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor of Environmental and Community Resources. “Through Fun Safe Philly Summer, we are able to expose youth in Kensington to enjoyable, enriching experiences, creating opportunities for them to learn, connect and share in safe spaces.”

Siobhan A. Reardon, Free Library President and Director, added, “Maintaining good reading habits over the summer months helps you grow stronger as a reader—and it’s also a lot of fun. The Free Library’s 30-Million-Minute Challenge is a big goal, but I am confident that Philadelphians of all ages will not only meet but exceed it. With Mayor Nutter and Deputy Mayor DiBerardinis’s help at McPherson Square Library today, we’re 75% of the way there!”

Youth and parents can text “MEALPA” to 877877 or call 1-855-252-MEAL to find locations for free summer meals in their community.

In addition, Fun Safe Philly Summer will host two remaining “Pop Up” events in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Philadelphia Soul and other partners.  The two remaining 2014 Fun Safe Philly Summer “Pop Up” events will be hosted from 5-8pm. Upcoming dates and locations are:

  • Wednesday, August 6th – Ice Skating at Scanlon Ice Rink, 1099 E. Tioga Street; and
  • Wednesday, August 13th – Pump & Jump at the Pumptrack, 53rd and Parkside Avenue.

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Fun Safe Philly Summer is an Office of Mayor Michael A. Nutter, city-wide, partnered initiative to provide Philadelphia youth with programming and opportunities to stay active and engaged all summer long.  To find, available programming, fun, free activities and a summer meal location near you, log on towww.funsafephillysumer.com or follow FSPS on Twitter @PhillySummer.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

Mayor Nutter Opens City Of Philadelphia’s Innovation Lab

Philadelphia, August 1, 2014–  Mayor Michael A. Nutter opened the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Lab, a technology-enabled space in which City employees, community members and external partners can work together to create solutions to municipal challenges, located in the Municipal Services Building during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“I believe that good government is efficient, effective and innovative.  It should be data-driven, willing to implement best practices, streamlined and accessible to all City employees and citizens,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Early in my Administration, I decided to make innovation a priority.  It required a completely new mindset, a new culture within government.  This Lab is a testament to that effort and is an innovation in its own right.  I can’t wait to see all of the solutions and great ideas that will come out of the collaborative work done here.”

Managing Director and Deputy Mayor for Administration & Coordination Richard Negrin said, “The Lab will encourage both employees and outside stakeholders to inject creativity and collaboration into our municipal operations.  It will help ensure that ‘innovation’ is not thought of as a buzzword or a temporary initiative but as a value and commitment in government to push the limits and work tirelessly for a better city.”

The Lab can accommodate individual use, cross-departmental co-working and scheduled programming. Programming will take a number of forms, including topical research modules in areas such as GIS and spatial analysis, economic development and arts & culture, and will focus on enhancing civic collaboration and engagement.

Meetings and learning sessions in the Lab can be held around a large conference table or at one of two workstations, and employees can work casually around small tables in comfortable chairs. The Lab itself is outfitted with five wall-mounted flat screen monitors, offers wireless Internet access for all users and can accommodate wireless projection from a device to the monitors.

Additionally, the Lab offers multiple double-sided, movable white boards and features a bank of wall mounted white boards. Laptops and other portable devices will be available for use in the Lab.

The Innovation Lab is a key component of Philadelphia’s overall plan to build an infrastructure of innovation within municipal government. This physical space is complemented by an Innovation Academy and an Innovation Fund. The Academy for Municipal Innovation is a partnership with Philadelphia University in which City employees receive formal training in the principles of innovation and then apply those principles to their day-to-day work. The Innovation Fund, a subset of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, formalizes a process to develop ideas and proposals for pilot projects designed to improve City processes, systems and outcomes. Together, these three initiatives allow Philadelphia’s government to provide constituent services in new and improved ways.

Posted in Education, Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release, Topics
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