Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Please contact your State Rep. today and ask them to cosponsor HB2364

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Please contact your State Rep. today and ask them to cosponsor HB2364
Is your State Rep. on the cosponsor list for HB 2364? Charter school funding, accountability and transparency

The bill is now posted on the General Assembly’s website:

Here’s more info on HB 2364 from PSBA:

Fleck Introduces HB 2364 Charter and Cyber Charter School Reform Bill
PA House Republican Caucus website 6/4/2012
HARRISBURG – Citing the need for greater oversight of publically-funded charter and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon/Blair/Mifflin) today announced he has introduced legislation to amend the state’s Public School Code regarding the operation of these schools. 
Fleck was joined at a Capitol news conference by other lawmakers, public school administrators, school board members and representatives from education-related organizations who support his proposal, including the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and Pennsylvania Association for Rural and Small Schools (PARSS). 

HB 2364: Push is on to fix charter school funding
House members propose bill, while the Corbett administration wants commission to study the issue.
By Patrick Lester, Of The Morning Call 11:25 p.m. EDT, June 4, 2012
The acrimonious tug of war over tax dollars used to fund charter and virtual charter schools in Pennsylvania is intensifying with the latest attempt at reform that educators on both sides of the issue say is overdue.
Public school officials, who have long clamored about the high cost of funding and lack of oversight of schools responsible for teaching more than 100,000 Pennsylvania students, joined state representatives in Harrisburg on Monday to pitch a bill they say will improve accountability and protect taxpayer dollars.  The proposal, backed by several state education groups, including the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and the Pennsylvania State Education Association, will rival a charter school-backed bill that calls for a state commission to study the funding issue, something the state Department of Education supports.
The issue could come to a head over the next three weeks as lawmakers try to hammer out a 2012-13 budget.

HB 2364: Bill proposes reform of charter funding
Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012
By JOHN KOPP  @DT_JohnKopp
Legislation that could reform the funding formulas for charter schools is being introduced to the state House of Representatives.
State Rep. Mike Fleck, R-81, of Huntingdon County, held a press conference in Harrisburg Monday to announce the details of his proposed bill intended to better regulate charter and cyber charter schools.

 June 5, 2012

Proposed Legislation Changes Charter School Funding

Lawmaker Wants To Hold Charters To Same Accountability As Regular Schools


Legislation introduced in the state House aims to increase accountability and transparency in the funding of charter schools in Pennsylvania.
The sponsor, Representative Mike Fleck (R-Huntingdon), said House Bill 2364 would change the current funding formula used to determine school districts’ tuition payments for students who enroll in charter and cyber charter schools. The bill would eliminate non-instructional services, such as athletic funds, from those tuition payments. Fleck said his proposal would also eliminate what he calls the “double dip” for pension costs which are currently not subtracted from school district expenditures. He said this would save taxpayers an estimated half billion dollars within five years.
In addition, the measure would require an annual audit to document if charter and cyber charter schools are being paid for the actual cost of educating students and prohibit the use of funding to pay for advertising meant to increase charter school enrollment. It would also put a cap on charter schools’ unused fund balances.

SB 1115: Senate bill would change the way Pennsylvania pays for special education
By John L. Micek and Steve Esack, Of The Morning Call
11:26 p.m. EDT, June 4, 2012
Legislation that would change the way Pennsylvania pays for special education is on its way to the state House, where supporters hope to quickly send it to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature. The state Senate voted 46-1 Monday to scrap the state's years-old special education formula, which awarded the same amount of money to districts regardless of how many special education students they had or the severity of need for those students.
An identical bill, sponsored by Rep. Bernie O'Neill, R-Bucks, is before the House. O'Neill said Monday he hopes to have Browne's proposal cleared by the House Education Committee on Wednesday and put to a vote by the full House next week.
House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer, R-Bucks, supports the proposal.

BUDGET: Pa. lawmakers looking to boost public school aid
Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Delco Times By MARC LEVY, Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A $27.7 billion budget plan written behind closed doors by Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania state House and Senate would send more money to public schools than a plan approved previously by the Senate, but it could face a tough reception from Gov. Tom Corbett.
The plan was delivered to Corbett's staff Tuesday and was not released publicly, but some details were obtained by The Associated Press. Top Republican lawmakers were scheduled to meet later Tuesday with Corbett, who has poured cold water on lawmakers' hopes that he will approve their proposed spending figure.

“One of the worst situations is faced by the Harrisburg School District, which has already voted to eliminate kindergarten for the next school year.  No lawmaker should want this — it is the first time a district has ended kindergarten in the state.”

Budget priorities: Education, human services are key

Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 6:05 AM
By Patriot-News Editorial Board 
State lawmakers face tough choices in the next few weeks.
They must decide whether to go with a $27.65 billion spending plan that the Republican-controlled Senate passed or with the governor’s version, which slims down state monies by $500 million.

Can Shell Educate Our Kids?
Yinzercation Blog— JUNE 5, 2012
Talk about hypocrisy. Governor Corbett has been running around the state telling everyone who will listen that Pennsylvania is broke. About our schools staggering under historic budget cuts he says, “we can’t give them money we don’t have.” And he asks, “So if I’m going to propose increasing money for education, who do we take it from?” [Delco Times, 5-30-12] Turns out he had that backwards. Now the governor is proposing to take money from education and give it to Big Oil.

$1.8 million: District price tag at Audenried and Vare this year
by Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks
The Philadelphia School District is paying an estimated total of $1,776,832 to completely subsidize the facilities costs of charter operator Universal Companies in two District-owned buildings this school year.

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 06/06/2012

Vouchers and the future of public education

Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss
This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch, a research professor at New York University and author of the bestselling “The Death and Life of the Great American School System.” This first appeared on her blog.
By Diane Ravitch
I debated whether to give this blog post the title you see or to call it “State Commissioner of Education John White Acknowledges That He Doesn’t Know How to Improve Schools.”
I felt a sense of outrage as I read the latest account of the Louisianavoucher program. Since Gov. Bobby Jindal is already doing what Mitt Romney promises to do, I keep a close watch on Louisiana. So should the national media. A Shreveport newspaper ran an article linking Jindal’s plan to the ALEC model of school reform.
The Reuters article skips the rhetoric about “the civil rights issue of our era” and goes to the heart of the voucher program: “Louisiana is embarking on the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.
The voucher program is a bold effort to privatize public education by taking money away from public schools and giving it to anyone who claims that they can offer some sort of an educational or tutoring or apprenticeship program, in person or online, regardless of its quality.

Learning by Making
American kids should be building rockets and robots, not taking standardized tests. By Dale Dougherty|Posted Monday, June 4, 2012, at 6:30 AM ET
On a morning visit to a Northern California middle school, I saw not a single student. The principal showed me around campus, but I didn’t see or hear students talking, playing, or moving about. The science lab was empty, as were the library and the playground. It was not a school holiday: It was a state-mandated STAR testing day. The school was in an academic lockdown. A volunteer manned a table filled with cupcakes, a small reward for students at day’s end.
This is what the American public school looks like in 2012, driven by obsessive adherence to standardized testing. The fate of children, their schools, and their teachers are based on these school test scores.

Romney Hones Pitch on Education Policy

Education week By Alyson Klein Published Online: June 5, 2012
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has offered education proposals that include both market-driven, conservative initiatives and continuation of some ideas aligned with the Obama administration. 

The Miseducation of Mitt Romney

New York Review of Books by Diane Ravitch June 5, 2012

On May 23, the Romney campaign released its education policy white paper titled “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education.” If you liked the George W. Bush administration’s education reforms, you will love the Romney plan. If you think that turning the schools over to the private sector will solve their problems, then his plan will thrill you.

Here are more than 700 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.

PSBA accepting nominations for the Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award
Last year, PSBA created a new award to honor the memory of its long-term chief lobbyist, who died unexpectedly. The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA's Legislative Platform. The nomination process is now open and applications will be accepted until June 22, 2012. The award will be presented during the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference in October. For more information and criteria details, see the Allwein Advocacy Award page. To obtain an application form, see the Allwein Advocacy Award Nomination Form. Completed forms should be returned no later than June 22 to: Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Advocacy Award Selection Committee, PO Box 2042, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-0790.

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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