Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big money behind push for education tax credit program

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1500 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.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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“Expanding the EITC now will drain more state revenue away from public schools at a time when many are laying off teachers, cutting kindergarten or prekindergarten, and eliminating courses.”

Analysis of HB 2468

Pennsylvania Budget and Policy CenterJune 25, 2012

Individuals, Not Corporations, Pick Up the Tax Tab for EITC Scholarships

Corporations get triple dip deduction for contributions to private schools

Proponents argue that expanding the EITC doesn’t affect the budget because companies pay the bill; however, the opposite is true.  Individual taxpayers will pay at least $9 of $10 in EITC funding.

The EITC program needs substantial program reform prior to any expansion.  It is a costly program with little accountability that allows businesses to direct other taxpayers’ money to favored organizations. 



Posted: Tue, Jun. 26, 2012, 3:00 AM

Big money behind push for education tax credit program

Philadelphia Daily News by WILL BUNCH
A NEW, big-money political-action committee turned up on the Pennsylvania radar screen this spring — at exactly the same time that the Philadelphia Archdiocese launched a full-court press for legislation in Harrisburg that would pump millions of dollars of scholarship money into its struggling schools.

The new Fighting Chance PA PAC shares a name with a self-described grass-roots campaign launched in March by the Pennsylvania Catholic Coalition, and it shares office space with wealthy King of Prussia developer Brian O'Neill, who spearheaded a drive to raise $12 million from 10 anonymous donors earlier this year to keep open four endangered Catholic high schools.

In just a couple of months, the Fighting Chance PA PAC already has doled out $225,000 to pro-voucher state lawmakers and other political committees in Harrisburg. Its biggest donation to an individual lawmaker, $25,000, was handed to obscure GOP Rep. Jim Christiana of Beaver County on May 9 — one month before Christiana introduced a bill that would support scholarships for Catholic and other nonpublic schools but would cost the state as much as $75 million.



In Philly, Martinez faces public, explains his vision for improving the District

thenotebook on Jun 25 2012

by Dale Mezzacappa, Benjamin Herold and Katie McCabe

Pedro Martinez is on board with the need to “increase quality seats” in Philadelphia schools, endorsing the primary reform strategy of the School Reform Commission that is considering whether to hire him as the next superintendent.

But while Martinez described himself as a strong supporter of school choice, he emphasized that charter schools are  “not a magic bullet” and said that the cornerstone of lasting reform are strong principals and well-supported teachers. 



Corbett stands to win some school-reform victories

The proposals would expand a tax-credit program that helps children from low-income families.
PETER JACKSON, Associated Press Posted:   06/23/2012 05:28:33 PM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - After more than a year of being demonized for his administration's deep cuts in state spending for education, Gov. Tom Corbett may soon be able to claim some victories in his school-reform agenda.
As part of this week's handshake deal on a $27.7 billion spending blueprint, leaders of the Republican majorities in the Legislature promised the GOP governor they would push for passage of four bills he wants on his desk before lawmakers' scheduled summer break begins a week from now.
Tax credit touted as aid for Pa.'s failing schools
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania state lawmaker whose proposal for a voucher-like tax credit that is designed to help students leave the state's worst schools said Monday that those schools would benefit, too.
Rep. Jim Christiana told House Education Committee members that, unlike conventional vouchers, his plan would be financed by businesses that contribute toward scholarships that help youngsters in the schools with the lowest academic performance to transfer to private schools or better public schools.
Tax money allotted for the students' education would not travel with the students to their new schools. Rather, tax money allotted for the students' education would remain at their former schools, increasing per-pupil spending and helping to reduce class sizes there, Christiana said.
"This will not take a single dime out of the operating budgets of school districts" or the state education budget, the Beaver County Republican said.
Rep. James Roebuck of Philadelphia, the committee's ranking Democrat, argued that it makes no difference whether the cost of the tax credits are subtracted in advance or collected and then refunded to businesses. Christiana's bill would still reduce the amount available to help the many Pennsylvania schools that are struggling financially, he said.

Charter school funding should be more equitable
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, 12:28 AM
Patriot News Letters to the Editor  by PEDRO RIVERA
Superintendent, School District of Lancaster
Charter schools are part of today's public education landscape. High-quality charter schools provide a valuable alternative to traditional public school programs, and they are entitled to their fair share of public education funding on behalf of their students. But not more than their fair share.
Pennsylvania's charter school law has long included unfair rules for charter school funding and gaps in accountability for the spending of public funds. The pension "double dip" is an example: School districts must include the amount they pay toward employee pensions in the calculation of tuition paid to charters for each student. Yet the state also provides reimbursement directly to charter schools for pension costs. Charter schools get to collect this money twice.
State Rep. Mike Fleck has introduced a bill with broad bipartisan support that would correct this and other funding problems in the rules governing charter school funding and would make the system more fair and equitable for all students. The House and Senate should pass this bill without delay.

Bill exposes divide on reforming Pa. charter schools

Pottstown Mercury By Frank Otto fotto@pottsmerc.com Posted: 06/25/12 12:01 am

HARRISBURG — A bill gaining traction in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is serving as a polarizing force for views on how Pennsylvania’s charter schools should be funded.

House Bill 2364, introduced by Mike Fleck, R-81st Dist., is set to reform the formula used for charter school funding since the inception of Act 22 in 1997, known as the Charter School Law. “It’s mainly (about) accountability and holding charter schools to the same standards public schools have had,” Fleck said. Currently, the formula for funding private schools takes into account the total expenditures of a school district and the budget to determine what a district must pay per student that lives within the district but chooses to go the charter route. HB 2364 focuses on three areas: funding, special education funding and transparency and accountability.



Corbett wants teacher evaluations to include student scores

Pocono Record By JARED SICHEL PA Independent June 25, 2012

HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican lawmakers want to evaluate public school teachers using student test scores, but teachers associations don't want instructors held accountable for factors beyond their control.

Under the state's current rating system, student performance is not considered. Teachers receive either satisfactory or unsatisfactory scores.



Judge denies Neshaminy teacher's union request for court-supervised talks

Phillyburbs.com By Christian Menno Staff writer Posted on June 26, 2012

DOYLESTOWN — Bucks County Judge Robert Baldi denied a motion Monday from the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers seeking court supervision of future negotiations with the school board.  However, Baldi left open the possibility for either side to re-petition for court involvement in the nearly four-year-long contract dispute by Aug. 3.



Is your State Rep. on the cosponsor list for HB 2364? If not, why not?
If they tell you that we should make it easier to authorize charters or that they are already accountable enough have them read this:

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight

More details on HB 2364 from PSBA:



Education Voters PA ‏@EdVotersPA
Please take 2 minutes to send an email to your state reps; ask them to restore public ed funding:

Here are more than 800 articles since January 23rd detailing budget cuts, program cuts, staffing cuts and tax increases being discussed by local school districts
The PA House Democratic Caucus has been tracking daily press coverage on school district budgets statewide:

June 29 is deadline to submit proposals for PSBA’s 2013 Legislative Platform
Your school board is invited to submit proposals for consideration for PSBA’s 2013 Legislative Platform. The association is accepting proposals now until Friday, June 29, 2012.  Guidelines for platform submissions are posted on PSBA’s Web site.  The PSBA Platform Committee will review proposals and rationale submitted for the platform on Aug. 11. The recommendations of the committee will be brought before the Legislative Policy Council for a final vote on Oct. 18.

Absentee ballot procedures for election of PSBA officers
PSBA website 6/1/2012
All school directors and school board secretaries who are eligible to vote and who do not plan to attend the association's annual business meeting during the 2012 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in Hershey, Oct. 16-19, may request an absentee ballot for election purposes.
The absentee ballot must be requested from the PSBA executive director in accordance with the PSBA Bylaws provisions (see PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 4, J-Q.). Specify the name and mailing address of each individual for whom a ballot is requested.
Requests must be in writing, e-mailed or mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA Headquarters no later than Aug. 15. Mail to Executive Director, P.O. Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 or e-mail administrativerequests@psba.org.


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