Thursday, March 1, 2012

Commonwealth Court says Chester Community Charter School must disclose salaries under Right-to-Know request

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1000 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, members of the press and a broad array of education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

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Monday March 5th – Call to Action - Mark Your Calendar!

Education Voters Pennsylvania, joined by several education advocacy groups, will hold a "Statewide Call to Action for Education" on Monday, March 5.  Tell the Governor and your state legislators "No more cuts to education!"  For more information on how you can participate, visit


Six years later…..

Commonwealth Court says Chester Community Charter School must disclose salaries under Right-to-Know request
Chester Community Charter School (Charter School) appeals an order
of the  Delaware County  Court of Common Pleas (trial court)  directing Charter
School to produce  a number of salary and contract documents requested by  a
newspaper reporter,  Daniel Hardy,  on behalf of  The Philadelphia Inquirer.  In
doing so, the trial court affirmed a decision of the Pennsylvania Office of Open
Records (OOR) that the records were subject to disclosure even though they were
in the possession of a private party that had contracted with Charter School
Discerning no error, we affirm


Here’s a few earlier related postings:

Charter school should reveal deal, court says

February 17, 2006 By Dan Hardy INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

The management contract between the Chester Community Charter School and a for-profit charter-management company headed by Main Line lawyer and businessman Vahan H. Gureghian should be made public, Commonwealth Court has ruled.

In its ruling, the court said Pennsylvania's charter school law makes clear "that charter schools are generally governed by statutes applicable to public schools," including the Right to Know Law.

The school has asked the court to reconsider. A decision on that request is expected within the next 60 days.


Follow the Money: Contributions by Vahan Gureghian 1/1/07 - 5/31/11


Governor Corbett’s stark naked school choice: some moving out, some moving in



 “Corbett is the first governor in state history to lump mandatory pension payments into what had been separate funding streams for regular education programming.”

Corbett's education spending hike covers pensions, not books

Corbett touts boost but local officials say mandated reimbursements don't count.

A Morning Call analysis of the state Department of Education's new website shows Gov. Tom Corbett’s $8.2 billion education budget would increase student-related spending by less than half a percent from the current 2011-12 funding levels.
  9:34 p.m. EST, February 29, 2012
It was meant to quiet Gov. Tom Corbett's critics who claimed his budget proposal would eviscerate public education: an interactive website touting how he is bestowing the "largest amount of funding to public schools in state history."
But the state Department of Education's new website,, shows the vast majority of Corbett's $338.1 million, or 3.7 percent, increase in education spending would not go toward classroom learning as his administration claims.
It would go to cover the state's mandatory increase in its share of public school employees' retirement payments, which originated in the Legislature's 2001 decision to increase pensions for its members and all state employees.,0,2652371.story


Here’s the PDE website incorporating the PSERS payments described above:
PA Department of Education Website
Governor Tom Corbett’s 2012-13 proposed budget will provide Pennsylvania school districts with more than $9.3 billion in taxpayer assistance, representing the largest amount of state funding in Pennsylvania history.
To see how much state taxpayer funding would be provided to your school district, select the district’s name in the drop down menu below.

Here’s PSEA’s budget impact website:
PSEA: How state budget cuts will affect your district
Use the drop-down menus to find out how proposed budget cuts would affect your district.

Someone particularly close to me attended Philly’s Thomas Creighton Elementary School, a K-8 school, graduating in 1966…..


Four more Phila. schools to become charters

Philadelphia Inquirer Philly School files Blog by Kristen Graham

Despite the fact that it’s nearly broke and in the middle of a major organizational shakeup, the Philadelphia School District is moving forward with plans to turn failing schools over to charter organizations.  Four low-performing Philadelphia schools have been targeted — Cleveland, Creighton, and H.R. Edmunds Elementary Schools, and Jones Middle School.


“It may be easy, then, to say use this as an example of free-market capitalism improving the education system. But you also have to wonder if the emphasis on turning a profit, rather than delivering an optimal education, wasn't the problem in the first place.”
Publicly Funded Online Schools: Education on the Cheap
The American Prospect by ABBY RAPOPORT FEBRUARY 28, 2012
Investors are increasingly queasy about putting money into for-profit learning.
Publicly funded online schools run by private companies have been controversial with teachers groups and some education advocates since they started to take off a few years ago. But the concept of educating kids by computer has a strong appeal—not just among lawmakers but also among portfolio managers and investors. The two biggest companies offering online education—K12, Inc. and Connections Academy—are both for-profit, and until recently K12 had been a stock-market favorite. But an article this week on Seeking Alpha, a major investment website, casts doubt on the long-term profitability of K12 in light of poor student results.

How to Demoralize Teachers

 Diane Ravitch  
Dear Deborah,
Two weeks ago, New York state's highest court ruled that the New York City Department of Education could release for public scrutiny the value-added ratings of teachers of mathematics and English in grades 4-8. Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, joined by other media, had filed a "freedom of information" request to obtain the testing data, and the United Federation of Teachers opposed their release, saying that the ratings contained many inaccuracies.
According to The New York Times, current schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott had "mixed feelings" about the naming of names, but his predecessor, Joel Klein, had "championed" their release. A story in the Columbia Journalism Review said that the city's department of education had encouraged reporters to file "freedom of information" requests and responded with uncustomary speed when the requests were received.
The scores were released to the public last Friday.


Undermining Public Education, Hobbles Our Hope for the Future

Digital Notebook Blog by Evan Brandt
As the presidential campaign gears up and every candidate is sure to use the word "jobs" in every sentence they speak, I am sometimes struck by the acknowledgement gap that exists between the words "jobs" and "education."
Education, particularly public education, is a dirty word these days.

Monday, March 5, 2012 10:00 AM  Room 140 Main Capitol
10:00 AM Department of Education
1:00 PM State System of Higher Education

March 8, 7 pm Lehigh County Legislative Forum on Public Education
Thursday, March 8th, 7:00 pm at Lehigh Carbon Community College, Community Services Center
All public education stakeholders are invited to this special event.  Join us on Thursday, March 8th at Lehigh Carbon Community College at 7PM for an evening with several key state legislators from Lehigh County and other education experts who will help explain local impacts. 
State Representatives and Senators representing surrounding school districts have been invited to attend and discuss their positions on public education as they head into negotiations over next year’s budget.  This event will be moderated by the League of Women Voters.

The Education Committee of the League of Women Voters of Chester County
March 19th LWV Chester County Public Meeting: The Real Impact of the Proposed State Budget on Public Education
PA Auditor General Jack Wagner
Monday March 19th 6:30 pm at Stetson Middle School, West Chester
Location: Stetson Middle School Auditorium
The Auditor General will speak to the public followed by Q & A Session.

March 26th: Last day to register to vote in the April 24th PA Primary Election
You do have the power to change the direction of education policy in Pennsylvania
The last day to REGISTER before the primary is March 26 , 2012.  Make sure that you, your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are all registered to vote in the April 24th Pennsylvania Primary.  Ask your incumbent state representative and state senator for their positions on public education.  Let them know how important these issues are to you.  Forward this reminder to any and all public education stakeholders.

Education Voters PA – Take action on the Governor’s Budget
The Governor’s proposal starts the process, but it isn’t all decided: our legislators can play an important role in standing up for our priorities.  Last year, public outcry helped prevent nearly $300 million in additional cuts.  We heard from the Governor, and we know where he stands.  Now, we need to ask our legislators: what is your position on supporting our schools?

At The Chalk Face - Education Talk Radio – Listen Anytime
Educated Educators Talking Education.
A new one hour talk show dedicated to education.  Hosts Tim Slekar and Shaun Johnson cover the biggest issues in education.  From standardized testing to No Child Left Behind.

PA House Democratic Caucus Website
As districts consider their preliminary budgets and we await the Governor’s February 7th budget announcement, the PA House Democratic Caucus has begun daily tracking of press coverage on school district budgets statewide:

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