In case you missed it: this week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

     Caution tape marks the verge of a bridge replacement in Curtin Township in Centre County on Route 1002. (Kelly Tunney/WPSU)

    Caution tape marks the verge of a bridge replacement in Curtin Township in Centre County on Route 1002. (Kelly Tunney/WPSU)

    It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our roundup of recommended reading from this week.

    Don’t miss our TV program: Keystone Crossroads: Bridging our Communities


    We launched a new series of podcasts and “explainers” about Pa. school funding. First up: How much does Pennsylvania spend on public schools and how are costs shared? And: How are charter schools funded? Watch for more in the coming weeks.

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    State funding comes with strings: Pa. lawmaker wants to put chronically underperforming schools under state control.

    Nerd Wallet uses data to rank Pa. school districts by “bang for your buck.” Congratulations, Lewisburg! (The Daily Item)

    The Washington Post on Pa. schools’ inequality.

    Parents and six school districts are claiming Pennsylvania’s school funding system is unconstitutional—they’re bringing their case to the state Supreme Court. (The Morning Call

    Do Pa. scholarships funded through tax credits help or hurt?

    Living in cities

    Homeless population is up in Pennsylvania, but down nationally. We crunched the numbers to examine the state of homelessness in Pa. 

    Artist Justin Maxon has been documenting life in Chester since 2008. But local residents got him rethinking his approach.

    We talked with The Brookings Institution vice president Bruce Katz about Pittsburgh development.

    50+ and wondering where you should live? AARP has some suggestions.  (via Next City)

    A hotbed for chicken ownership“—Pittsburgh is hoping to make the city more friendly to urban farmers. (Next City)


    A new study looks at the effects of a minimum wage hike in Pa. Proponants say an increase would “boost the economy [and] benefit the state’s rural communities.” Opponents say moving the minimum wage to $10.10 would “cost the state over 30,000 jobs, 19,600 of them among women.” (Cumberlink)

    Wolf axes Pa. asset test for food stamps begun under Corbett. Delco Times

    The Morning Call reports a division of PPL, a key taxpayer in Allentown, might move to NJ. PPL’s taxes help the city pay debt on new arena.

    Scranton is set to triple its local services tax (to $156 a year for people who work in the city and earn above a certain income). (The Times-Tribune)


    Have you checked out our series on Pennsylvania municipal pensions

    At an annual meeting of township supervisors, Gov. Tom Wolf hedged on the matter of pensions:I want to come up [with] a proposal that I think is actually helpful. Not ideological. Practical.”

    In Lancaster County, Democrats can’t agree how to prioritize pension reform. Mayors don’t feel like state legislature is moving quickly enough. (Lancaster Online)

    Lancaster Online columnist Gil Smart weighs in on Pa.’s pension problem: “Hope was the plan.” 


    Graduate students spent a semester helping two Pittsburgh-area boroughs with tech projects, bringing them “from the 19th Century into the 21st Century.”

    Pa. lawmakers set to approve changes to law that would funnel more money into transit oriented districts.

    The Pulitzer winner for music found inspiration in Pennsylvania coal mines. (The New York Times)

    A history of oil in Pennsyvlania. (The New York Times)

    What size is the perfect city? Finding a middle ground between “fragmentation and amalgamation.” (The Guardian)

    Who is “Lake?” Cops in Allentown and West Bethlehem want to know. (Lehigh Valley Live)

    City Lab does a public service by answering this question: “When is infrastructure for exercise?” (Apparently, some people don’t know.) 

    America is unequal, in more ways than one. (City Lab)

    Keystone Crossroads news

    Are you as interested in reporting on Pennsylvania urban issues as we are? We’re hiring!Four of our reporters received prestigious regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

    Have a great weekend!

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