Morning Headlines | Selected by the WNYC News Hub

Must-read headlines from around the city, curated by the WNYC Newsroom.

Schools Paid AWOL Staff (NYP)
Yoav Gonen and Ikimulisa Livingston report: “The city Department of Education lost track of a number of employees who had quietly stopped reporting to work for as long as a year — but continued to pay their hefty salaries anyway, agency documents reveal.”

Report Tracks Student-Data System Usage (WSJ)
Lisa Fleisher reports: “Most educators spend less than an hour a year using the city's $80 million student-data system, which transformed access to basic student information, a new study from New York University found.”

Law Banning Masks at Protests Is to Be Challenged (NYT)
Colin Moynihan reports: “The crowd had gathered outside the Russian Consulate in New York, awaiting the sentencing in Moscow of members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot...Many in the crowd that day in August wore the same sort of brightly colored balaclavas worn by the women in the band. The choice of apparel led to the arrest of some demonstrators, who were charged with disorderly conduct and with violating an arcane provision in the loitering law that makes it unlawful for three or more people to wear masks in public. Now, a lawyer for three women arrested that day says he is preparing to challenge the constitutionality of the law, which he argues should not apply to peaceful protesters.”

Groups Push to Highlight Campaign Finance Reform (NYT)
Thomas Kaplan reports: “Two outside groups, one started by a son of the billionaire financier George Soros and the other by the husband of the Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, are preparing to show television advertisements in the Hudson Valley and Buffalo area to promote candidates who favor tightening the state’s campaign fund-raising rules. Other advocates are planning a statewide tour, the Caravan of Corruption, to highlight Albany’s long history of ethical transgressions. Some progressive leaders are urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to take a more active role in supporting candidates who favor public financing of campaigns.”

Factbox: The Wealthy Behind the Presidential Race (Reuter’s)
Three reporters gather the information: “Here is a look at wealthy individuals who have contributed at least $1 million to the major "super" political action committees as disclosed to the Federal Election Commission.”

City Looking for New Hutchinson River Pkwy Gas Stations (NYDN)
Kerry Wills reports: “The city Parks Department lets two CITGO gas stations along the Hutchinson River Parkway charge far more than other city sellers, though a contract requires them to be competitive. Last Thursday, their rate was $4.89 for a gallon of regular unleaded gas, 75 cents higher than the city average price and $1.15 above the national average, according to the American Automobile Association. Parks owns the land the stations sit on, near the Hutch’s Westchester Ave. exits, and has licensed CITGO to run them for 8 years.”

Cop-Out? NYPD Hiring Out-of-Towners at Twice the Rate of Locals (NYDN)
Reuvan Blau reports: “The NYPD is spending thousands to recruit out-of-town candidates — and then is hiring the non-New Yorkers at nearly double the rate of qualified local hopefuls, a Daily News analysis shows. Department recruiters have administered police exams at colleges in New Jersey and upstate New York as well as at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and Fort Benning in Georgia over the past five years — and nearly 7% of those recruits got hired after passing the police test, compared with 3% of New York City test passers.”

Marathon Hit with Cop Fees (Crain’s)
Lisa Fickenscher reports: “For the first time in the ING New York City Marathon's 43-year history, the city will present the event's organizers with a multi-million dollar bill to pay for the hundreds of workers who will control traffic, keep order and clean the city streets on November 4. The tab for police officers alone is expected to surge beyond $1 million—from zero in years past.”

Move to Nov. Has Major Effect on N.J. School Races (
Geoff Mulvihill reports: “New Jersey school board candidates, who typically spend just a few hundred dollars per election, are finding it's a different world this year. Instead of being at the top of the ballot in an April school-only election, most now find themselves in obscure corners of ballots that include Mitt Romney and President Obama, a couple of guys spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaigns. One board candidate says the challenge now is not getting people to the polls; it's getting those who do go to remember their local elections.”

In a World of Wild Politics, N.J.'s Senate Race is Surprisingly Tame (Star-Ledger)
Salvador Rizzo reports: “Running for statewide office in New Jersey tends to bring out the worst in people, or at least some of the nastiest campaign ads this side of Willie Horton... But this year, Sen. Robert Menendez and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos are breaking the mold with sun-dappled, soft-focus, just-get-to-know-me television spots that are costing each of them millions of dollars. Whether it’s Democrat Menendez at the playground or Republican Kyrillos on the beach, the gloves stay on and the knives don’t come out. They don’t even mention each other when they saunter onscreen.”

Astoria Elected Officials and Liberals Mobilize Against Neo-Nazi Group (NYDN)
Clare Trapasso reports: “Queens elected officials and liberal groups are mobilizing against a neo-Nazi group based in Greece that is rumored to be trying to gain a toe-hold in Astoria. A Stop Golden Dawn coalition was formed this month after posters for and against the anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic group began appearing on the neighborhood’s streets.”

Ski Slope May Be Coming to Astoria Park This Winter (DNAInfo)
Ewa Kern-Jedrychowski reports: “A ski slope may be coming this winter to Astoria if a proposal — which Community Board 1 in Queens has approved but is still bogged down with many logistical questions — gets off the ground. Sugarbush, a Vermont-based ski resort, is considering building a temporary slope covered with artificial snow in Astoria Park, community board representatives said. The slope would follow the natural hill in the park and the resort would offer free skiing instruction for children.”