Thursday, April 5, 2012

Close Delaware loophole and use funds for everyone

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PA House and Senate are in recess until April 30th


Close Delaware loophole and use funds for everyone

Published: Sunday, April 01, 2012, 1:50 AM
Harrisburg Patriot News By Letters to the Editor 
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Sam Denisco makes a compelling case (“Tax burden hurts business,” March 20) that Pennsylvania has the infrastructure, educational system and skilled workforce necessary to attract business. However, Pennsylvania’s failure to close the Delaware loophole puts those investments and the state’s competitiveness at risk.


House GOP lawmakers prepare to file lawsuit over state distribution of school funding

Published: Wednesday, April 04, 2012, 6:02 By JAN MURPHY, The Patriot-News 
A group of nearly a dozen House Republican lawmakers plan to file a lawsuit over  the state's hold harmless provision in the funding formula violates the constitution’s equal protection clause. 
That provision guarantees no school district will receive less than the year before even if a district’s student enrollment declines, and allocates funds based on the 1990 census.
Rep. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, said at a Capitol news conference that funding guarantee has shortchanged growing school districts. And because legislators representing school districts with slow-growing or declining enrollments outnumber those representing growing areas, they have no chance of convincing the General Assembly to change the formula to make it fairer to growing districts. Under The Dome™ Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Delozier says GOP leaders will push to restore $100 million in K-12 education block grants.

Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, told constituents the House and Senate are pushing to restore $100 million in K-12 public education block grants as part of an overall effort “to keep the level of funding where it is this year.” Delozier spoke at the New Cumberland Republican Women’s breakfast, and was asked a question about how to help the West Shore School District overcome its funding shortfall.


Abolish School Property Taxes in Pennsylvania by Increasing State Sales Tax to 7%?

Community Matters Blog Posted on April 4th, 2012   10:06 AM  by Pattye Benson

Are you tired of paying school property taxes in Pennsylvania?

Would you support legislation that would abolish your school property tax bill by raising the state sales tax to 7 percent? If so, State Rep Jim Cox (R-Berks) has a solution that would replace school property tax funding with new state revenues — House Bill 1776, Property Tax Independence Act.

The proposed Property Tax Independence Act would still provide the same level of funding to the school districts but would eliminate school property taxes by using state revenues.  Cox proposes funding the new state revenues using three sources.  First, he suggests raising the state’s personal income tax to 4 percent (from the current 3.07 percent).  Secondly, Cox has specific sales tax loopholes that would close and finally, HB 1776 increase state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.


ALEC - American Legislative Exchange Council and School Privatization

NPR ran a story this morning on ALEC.  Here’s a link to that and additional info on ALEC and its influence on Pennsylvania legislation and members in the PA General Assembly


More than 100 positions could be on chopping block at Easton Area SD
Two years ago, 72 teaching positions were cut. District may face similar circumstance.
By Adam Clark, Of The Morning Call 11:04 p.m. EDT, April 4, 2012
The Easton Area School District could cut more than 100 positions if it doesn't raise taxes for the 2012-13 school year.
Facing a deficit of more than $8 million — excluding a tax increase or dipping into savings — the administration on Wednesday unveiled potential cuts that would accompany tax increases of 2.2 percent or 1.7 percent, or no increase. All of the budget plans rely on using $1.5 million from the district's $13 million in assigned reserves.,0,2495016.story


Monessen district in 'dire straits'

Pittsburgh Trib By Stacy Wolford, VALLEY INDEPENDENT Wednesday, April 4, 2012
If the Monessen School District's financial situation doesn't improve, the district could close by 2014, according to officials.  District employees received that message in a letter on Friday from Superintendent Linda Marcolini and members of the finance committee.
"We are in serious, dire straits," said Marcolini, who replaced longtime Superintendent Cynthia Chelen on Jan. 1. "I just learned three weeks ago just how bad our finances here are."

Read more: Monessen district in 'dire straits' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Shenandoah Valley joins other school districts in asking for more state education funding

Published: April 4, 2012
SHENANDOAH - The Shenandoah Valley school board approved a resolution last week to ask for increased state funding in the upcoming school year.
The resolution has been adopted by school boards throughout the state asking the General Assembly to increase public school funding above Gov. Tom Corbett's 2012-13 budget proposal that includes cuts of $100 million.


Media NAACP recognizes foot soldiers for justice Written by  Louis Bolling Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:08  
The Media Area Unit chapter of the NAACP recently honored its “Foot Soldiers for Justice” during the organization’s Annual Freedom Fund Luncheon at The Oaks Ballroom in Glenolden.
Hosted by Chester resident and CBS 3/CW Philly on-air reporter, Dray Clark, the luncheon honored the work of several of the area’s influential figures.


Court affirms that Phila. School District illegally capped charter's enrollment

By Martha Woodall Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Thu, Apr. 5, 2012, 3:01 AM

Tax ruling may cost city, schools $41M

In a ruling that could have financial ramifications for school districts across the state, Commonwealth Court has affirmed the state education secretary's decision that the School District of Philadelphia illegally capped enrollment at a city charter school.

The court upheld Secretary Ronald J. Tomalis' finding that the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School was entitled to receive $1.3 million from the district. The school District had refused to give Palmer the money for 2008-09 and 2009-10 because the school enrolled more students than the 675 specified in its charter agreement.


"We envision schools where all children succeed, feel safe and their curiosity is cultivated. We see schools that foster a sense of belonging and community and that inspire collaboration. We see learning standards that challenge, and intentionally designed experiences that delight students, develop their confidence and competence, and cause every child to value tasks that result in learning. Ultimately, we see schools and related venues that prepare all children for many choices and that give them the tools and attitudes to contribute to our democratic way of life and live successfully in a rapidly changing world."

Stalking the Vampire in Texas

 Diane Ravitch  
Dear Deborah,
As the national debate about school reform continues, new voices, new evidence, and new ideas are emerging to shape the debate.
Something wonderful has started in Texas. For 10 long years, the nation's public schools have been stuck with the unrealistic demands imposed by No Child Left Behind. That odious program was hatched in Texas, so it is fitting that the nation's most significant rebellion against high-stakes testing is growing in Texas. At last count, more than 200 school boards (out of about 1,000), supported by the Texas Association of School Administrators, had endorsed a strong resolution against the high-stakes testing regime that is now strangling learning in Texas public schools.



Stand Up for Public Education!
East Penn Education Forum on April 25th 7:00 – 9:00 pm
What’s at Stake?  Discover how high-stakes testing and funding cuts are impacting our kids and schools.
Hosted by: East Penn Invested Citizens (EPIC), Salisbury Parent Advisory, Allentown Parent Groups and a coalition of Lehigh Valley Parents
Where: East Penn Administration Building School Board Meeting Room, 800 Pine Street, Emmaus

The PA House Democratic Caucus has been tracking daily press coverage on school district budgets statewide:

Stand Up for Public Education!
Wed., April 11, 2012 7:00 pm Town Hall Meeting on Education at Bucknell University
Meeting with legislators from Columbia, Northumberland, Montour, Snyder & Union counties
Where: The Forum, Room 272, Elaine Langone Center Bucknell University 701 Moore Avenue Lewisburg, PA 17837
7 p.m. – School directors and administrators meet with legislators (PSBA Legislative Meeting)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Meeting on Education – Please invite your PTO/PTA and other parent/ community groups to join us!  The purpose of the 7 p.m. meeting is for school directors and administrators to discuss the impact of the governor’s 2011-12 budget proposal on their school districts. At 7:30 p.m., the meeting will be open to all interested parents and other members of the community who would like to come out in support of their public schools and ask their legislators to take their message back to Harrisburg.
Please RSVP By April 4, to Kathy Swope, PSBA Region 6 director, at (570) 523-3336 or email

Stand Up for Public Education!

Thursday April 12th, 7:00 pm Allegheny County Legislative Forum

WHERE: North Hills Senior High School 53 Rochester Road Pittsburgh, PA 15229
WHEN: Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 7:00pm
REGISTER for this event:
All public education stakeholders are invited to this special event, which will be moderated by the League of Women Voters. Join us on Thursday, April 12th at North Hills Senior High School at 7PM for an evening with several key state legislators from Allegheny 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.

Has your board considered this draft resolution yet?

PSBA Sample Board Resolution regarding the budget

Please consider bringing this sample resolution to the members of your board.

PA Partnerships for Children – Take action on the Governor’s Budget
The governor’s budget plan cuts funding for proven programs like Child Care Works, Keystone STARS and the T.E.A.C.H. scholarship program, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. These are among the most cost-effective investments we can make in education.  Gov. Corbett’s budget plan also runs counter to a pledge he made when he ran for governor in 2010. He acknowledged the benefits of early childhood education and promised to increase funding to double the number of children who would benefit from early learning opportunities.
We need your help to tell lawmakers: if you cut these programs – you close the door to early learning! Click here to tell your state legislators to fund early childhood education programs at the same level they approved for this year’s budget.

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?

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