August 16: Schools to open on time | Seniority rules suspended | FBI raids Sheriff’s Office | Building collapse contractor pleads The Fifth | Scaffolding to wrap 30th Street Station | Upper Merion zoning

Happy Friday Eyes on the Street! 

Mayor Michael Nutter announced the city will borrow $50 million to ensure that schools can open on time next month. With the funds, Superintendent William Hite says he will be able to rehire enough employees to safely open schools on Sept. 9. Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett is encouraging Philadelphia City Council to authorize the borrowing and extend the sales tax, but City Council members have expressed opposition to the borrowing plan. 

As Hite prepares to rehire 1,000 of the 3,800 school staff laid off in June, the School Reform Commission voted to suspend rules on teacher seniority. This will allow the School District to bring teachers into the schools they worked in previously, suspend the longevity-based pay increases, hire non-unionized staff for “independent” schools and more. 

The FBI raided the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Thursday and seized some of the office computers. Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Joe Blake said the raid is part of an ongoing investigation begun in the previous administration. Former sheriff John Green, who resigned in 2011, has been previously accused of insider dealing and cronyism. It is not clear, however, if that is what the FBI investigation pertains to. The FBI will not release details unless charges are filed. 

The contractor in charge of the fatal building collapse in June will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions in a grand jury this month. The contractor, Griffin Campbell, will likely do the same in the 11 civil cases filed against him and others, at least until the conclusion of any criminal proceedings. 

Scaffolding will go up around most 30th Street Station‘s exterior as Amtrak begins a $60 million exterior restoration project. Once funding is secured, the 10-foot-high canopies will be in place for an estimated two years as Amtrak works on the 80-year-old neoclassical building’s limestone facade. 

Upper Merion, Pa. plans to overhaul its zoning code, the basics of which date back to the 1960s. Those leading the work don’t want to reinvent zoning but to create consistency, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. 

The seven-foot boa constrictor that slithered out of a Swathmore home this week is still on the loose. The snake’s owner, a veterinarian, said he normally lets the snake sun itself in his yard, but when he returned to check on the sunbathing snake Monday, it was gone. 

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