Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mandate Relief/Taxpayer Protection Package

This morning Senate Education Committee chairmen held a press conference to introduce a Mandate Relief/Taxpayer Protection Package. Below is the package of bills. You may view the text of the bills by going to the Electronic Bill Room at http://www.legis.state.pa.us.  

Mandate Relief/Taxpayer Protection Package
Vote Planned on April 5th @ 10:30 a.m. in Room 8EW

·         Senate Bill 202 (Dinniman) – Alternative certification pathways for principals and teachers.
·         Senate Bill 293 & 296 (Eichelberger/Brubaker) – Increases the thresholds for bidding to $25,000 plus a CPI.
·         Senate Bill 329 (Dinniman) – Suspends non-essential reports from districts to PDE in years in which state education funding declines.
·         Senate Bill 537 (Rafferty) – Requires a 2/3 vote by school boards to raise property taxes.
·         Senate Bill 612 (Folmer) – Economic Furloughs coupled with language requiring proportionate reduction of administrators and a waiver if administrative reduction is burdensome.  Amendment will be offered in committee to remove seniority rights and in its place establish effectiveness criteria tied to PVAAS data and local evaluations and also to require that positions remain vacant for at least one year unless the suspended employee is reinstated.  “Last in, First Out” will not apply unless in current CBAs. 
·         Senate Bill 801 (Waugh) – Districts would be permitted to bid single prime.
·         Senate Bill 802 (Piccola) – Districts may hire either school certificated nurses OR Registered Nurses.
·         Senate Bill 803 (Piccola) – Districts would be permitted to advertise from a menu of options including the Internet.
·         Senate Bill 814 (Corman) – Reintroduction of Senate Bill 250 of last session (as reported from the Senate Education Committee) to reauthorize the Mandate Waivers program that expired on June 30, 2010.  Bidding for school construction projects would be required both ways – multi-prime and single prime.
·         Senate Bill 844 (Dinniman) – Districts making AYP and/or showing adequate PVAAS growth will be waived from participating in PILS (administrator training conducted in Harrisburg).
·         Senate Bill 857 (Smucker) – Section 2502.49 of the Public School Code would be repealed.  Obsolete Rendell Administration language that required districts to use increases in basic education funding for new programs and expansion of existing programs.
·         Senate Bill 858 (Waugh) – Districts would be permitted the option of hiring certificated superintendents OR candidates who have a graduate degree in business or finance.
·         Senate Bill 869 (Alloway) – Currently the school districts bordering Pennsylvania are required to provide transportation for students to attend out of state private schools. This bill would allow schools to discontinue this service.
·         Senate Bill 870 (Eichelberger) – Entitlement in Public School Code for 10 paid sick days per year and Paid Sabbatical Leave will be repealed leaving these issues up to collective bargaining between districts and teachers’ unions.
·         Senate Bill 871 (Brubaker) – Continuing education and professional development for teachers would be suspended for two years saving educators, districts and the state significant monies.
·         Senate Bill 872 (Brubaker) – Current requirements in the School Code to establish a Concurrent Enrollment Committee and for quarterly meetings would be removed.  Districts would be given the flexibility to determine their policies for participating in dual enrollment.
·         Senate Bill 873 (Brubaker) – The Secretary of Education and State Board of Education would be required to review and overhaul the Department of Education’s PlanCon process for school construction and reimbursement.

 Press release from Senator Piccola’s website:

Education Chairs & Senators Unveil Mandate Relief Package

Pledging to Relieve School Districts of Financial Burdens
HARRISBURG – Recognizing the budgetary constraints and challenges facing Pennsylvania's school districts, Senator Jeff Piccola (R-15), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, and members of the Senate Republican Caucus unveiled today a comprehensive legislative package intended to relieve schools of costly state mandates.  Also joining Piccola for this announcement was Senator Andy Dinniman (D-19), Democratic Chairman of the Education Committee.


Mandate relief proposed for school districts

Senate Republicans outline changes supported by Corbett.

2:24 p.m. EDT, March 22, 2011
Pennsylvania school districts would get a break on providing mandated services — ranging from pupil transportation to teachers' professional development — under an 18-bill package made public Tuesday by Senate Republicans.
"We're beginning the process of removing onerous burdens on taxpayers to free up school boards, administrators and teachers to deliver more effective educational products to our students," said Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin.

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