Friday, June 22, 2012

EITC/EISC - Immaculate Reception?

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
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June 21 Tea-Time Budget Update: Budget details start to emerge.
Morning Call Capitol Ideas Blog by John Micek
As advertised, House Republicans were briefed during their caucus this afternoon on the broad outlines of the $27.66 billion budget framework agreed to by Gov. Tom Corbett and GOP legislative leaders on Wednesday. And some details are starting to emerge.
Here's what we know so far:

Commentary: EITC/EISC - Immaculate Reception?
In his June 18th guest column in the Delco Times, Auxiliary Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald says that Rep Christiana’s EITC/EISC bill “would infuse a new $125 million into educational school choice for this September.  Further, it would be funded by tax-credited contributions targeted to designated opportunity scholarship organizations, such as BLOCS in Philadelphia, and it would not take funds away from public schools.”
Just where would this “new” $125 million come from?  How could it not take money away from public schools?  How would private and religious schools receive these funds?  Is it somehow “new” money when the Governor has been telling us that there is no new money available for education?
No – this is tax revenue that would have gone into the state’s general fund and been available for programs like constitutionally mandated public education – that will instead be diverted to private and religious schools and won’t be available come September……
PUBLISHED: JUNE 22, 2012 12:01 AM EST
Education tax credit to expand in new Pa. budget
HARRISBURG -- A nearly $27.7 billion state budget taking shape in the Pennsylvania Capitol includes a substantial expansion of a tax credit available to businesses whose contributions can be used for scholarships to private schools, top state Republican lawmakers and legislative aides said Thursday.
The Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which is popular with the school-choice movement, will potentially double to $150 million from the $75 million set aside in the current year's budget.
It would be one of the largest expansions of a discretionary program from the budget that's in force now.

Tax Credit May Replace School Vouchers, Still a Bad Idea

Keystone Politics Blog Posted on  by Tom 
As per this article from the PA Independent, there’s a movement in the state House to replace vouchers with a tax credit. For those not following, vouchers would be payments given to parents who can then pay tuition at private or parochial schools. The voucher proposal that has the Governor’s backing would directly steer public dollars to non-public schools. The newly proposed tax credits, referred to as Education Improvement Scholarship Credits, are a convenient way to sidestep both criticism and a law that would likely find itself challenged in court.

Education Voters PA THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2012

TAKE ACTION Against EISC and a Statewide Authorizer

On Monday, the House Education Committee will meet to review HB 2468, proposed legislation that would create a new Education Improvement Scholarship Credit (EISC). EISC would re-direct dollars away from revenue collections, therefore reducing the amount of revenue the Commonwealth has to use for programs and services. In addition, the proposal calls for an increase in the current EITC program from $75 million to $100 million next fiscal year and $200 million for subsequent years. That’s $450 million in tax credits over the next three years that would be taken out of our coffers, and directed to private schools, even as we cut current funding for our public schools, which serve the vast majority of our children. (Learn more about EISC HERE.)
Also being negotiated with the budget is a bill focusing on “charter reform” (without the reform). It’s imperative that any charter reform bill includes actual reform to how charters are funded, increases accountability and DOES NOT include a statewide authorizer that will take away local authority and input.

Allentown School District fights to win back cyber school students through online schooling

Published: Friday, June 22, 2012, 4:50 AM
By Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times 
About 300 Allentown School Districtstudents have opted out of the traditional classroom setting in favor of cyber schools, which has cost the district about $1.2 million annually.
Now, the district is fighting to win those students back.  Officials are looking to expand the Allentown Virtual Academy, an online schooling program offered in-house that district officials hope will recruit back some of the parents and students who have chosen cyber charter schools.
"We feel that these Allentown students are our students," said Thomas Derhammer, the district's director of technology. "We want them back, and overall we can provide a better education for them."
The district can realize savings of $4,274 for every regular education student they can get back, Derhammer said, and $11,365 for every special education student.


Yinzercation Blog — 
Yesterday’s summer solstice gave Governor Corbett and Republican leaders the extra daytime they apparently needed to agree on a budget. Only they aren’t letting the details see the light of the sun. After the longest day of the year, Gov. Corbett announced Pennsylvania would have a $27.66 billion state budget saying, “We can put money back into some programs, we’re just not going to go into the details.” [Post-Gazette, 6-21-12] Why keep us in the dark?
The figure announced yesterday matches the one approved by the Senate, which included a $50 million cut to public education. While Governor Corbett originally proposed cutting $100 million back in February, we would obviously prefer to see the plan approved by the House a few weeks ago, which had no further cuts for K-12 schools still reeling from last year’s massive budget gutting. (See “Time’s Not Up, But Revenue Is.”)

Education VotersPA 6-20-12 Legislative Update

We have less than two weeks until the budget deadline of June 30th. There is a lot happening on the topic of public education and important bills are coming into play. Below is a quick update on what has happened in the last 2 ½ weeks.

School Districts Brace for Budget

School may be out for the summer, but education is at the center of public debate.
Working under the pressure imposed by million-dollar deficits, school boards across the state are voting on measures to cut costs and square away their budgets before the fall.
The losses will be painful, and the headlines are telling.

Posted: Fri, Jun. 22, 2012, 3:00 AM
Come hear from finalists to run Philly schools
Regina Medina Philadelphia Daily News
The two finalists for district superintendent will be announced Friday by the School Reform Commission's Superintendent Search Team and they will be ready to meet the public next week at two community forums, district officials said Thursday.

Louisiana Illegally Fired 7,500 Teachers, Judge Says

New York TIMES By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON Published: June 21, 2012
NEW ORLEANS — As much as some may wish otherwise, there is no starting from scratch when rebuilding a city, or a school system.  A judge confirmed that here on Wednesday, ruling that the Orleans Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Education, in laying the groundwork for a school reform movement that has become nationally recognized, illegally fired 7,500 school employees.

Prepared commencement address at the Loyola University Chicago School of Education
Economic Policy Institute By Richard Rothstein | May 10, 2012
Thank you, Dr. Fine, President Garanzini, Dean Prasse, faculty, parents, and guests.
Congratulations to the graduates.  Good luck as you embark on new responsibilities in one of the most important enterprises with which our society can entrust you – the preparation of the next generation.  Yet you leave here in a national climate of mistrust for all government, including public education. You are entering a highly politicized field where facts are too easily ignored.
In medicine, and in all fields, we know you can’t design proper treatment if your diagnosis is factually flawed.
Yet in education, conventional and widely shared diagnoses are based on fantasy, with little relation to facts.

Charter School Reform:
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 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:

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

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