Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 12, 2013: EPLC Ed Budget Breakfasts Harrisburg 2/13, Pittsburgh 2/14, Philly 2/27 - RSVP


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 1850 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook and Twitter.

These daily emails are archived at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 12, 2013: EPLC Ed Budget Breakfasts Harrisburg 2/13, Pittsburgh 2/14, Philly 2/27 - RSVP


President Obama is slated to deliver his annual State of the Union address at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time this evening.
NSBA to host State of the Union Twitter chat at #EdSOTU
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will be hosting our second annual Twitter chat during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, starting at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 12.  Join the Twitter chat by using hashtag #EdSOTU and share your thoughts about the president’s speech and his plans for K-12 education.
By using #EdSOTU in your tweets, you will become a part of this virtual conversation. To see the entire conversation stream just go toTwitter and search #EdSOTU.

SPECIAL EDITION EPLC Education Notebook Monday, February 11, 2013
EPLC: Summary of Governor Corbett's Proposed 2013-2014 Education Budget
Governor Corbett delivered his proposed budget for 2013-2014 to a joint session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, February 5. The Governor's budget for Fiscal Year 2013-2014 would spend $11.7 billion in funding for early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education. This represents 41 percent of the overall General Fund Budget.

Corbett moves to end business taxes
The Sharon Herald By John Finnerty CNHI Capitol Correspondent February 10, 2013
Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal calls for tax changes that would remove close to $1 billion a year in revenue from the state’s coffers.   Corbett’s budget calls for eliminating a capital stock and franchise tax that generates more than $300 million a year in revenue, and the governor is also suggesting that the state work toward cutting the corporate income tax – which generates $2 billion a year in revenue – by almost one-third by 2025.
The proposed 2013-14 budget is more than $28 billion.

Report: Pennsylvania loses $2.1B yearly via tax loopholes
City Paper Naked City Blog Posted by Samantha Melamed FEBRUARY 7, 2013, 11:14 AM
Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposal may not have included much very good news for people in Pennsylvania, who learned, for example, of his plan for minimal increases to education funding that was cut deep in the past few years. But it did offer plenty to large companies doing business in the commonwealth, including proposed reductions of some corporate taxes and repeals of others.  One thing Corbett's budget didn't address: Closing up tax loopholes. A new report by PennPIRG finds that loopholes allowing for offshore tax dodging cost Pennsylvania $2.1 billion in 2012.

Analysis: Pennsylvania pension "fix" could add to woes
Reuters By Hilary Russ Sun Feb 10, 2013 1:05pm EST
(Reuters) - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has proposed a fix for his state's poorly funded public pension systems, but some say his medicine could be worse than the illness.
Corbett's plan, presented as part of his fiscal 2014 budget, would add another $5 billion to the state's $41 billion-and-growing unfunded liability, while a measure to save money by reducing benefits could get tangled up in litigation for years.
By scaling back increases in pension contributions from the state and Pennsylvania's school districts, the Republican governor expects savings of $175 million in fiscal 2014, helping to ease immediate financial pressures for the budget that must be approved by June 30.
But that would widen the public pension gap.
"We're already putting in less than we should, so now we're going to put in less than that," said James McAneny, executive director of Pennsylvania's Public Employee Retirement Commission, an advisory group required to analyze all proposed pension legislation in the state.

Education funding news could have been worse, officials in Berks say
Reading Eagle by David Mekeel Originally Published: 2/10/2013
By most accounts, the news was pretty good.
In his budget address Tuesday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced plans to spend $11.7 billion on public education, upping the education department's budget by $338 million.
The basic education subsidy, the main way local school districts receive state funding, would get a $90 million boost. Other funding streams the governor has proposed cutting in the past were spared the chopping block.  A plan was pitched to help with the skyrocketing cost of teachers' pensions. And another $1 billion would be passed along to education over the next four years if the state decides to sell its liquor stores.

Central Pa. education officials say Corbett's budget falls short
February 10, 2013 8:15 am  •  Christen Croley, The Sentinel
Cumberland County school officials said the budget proposal announced by Gov. Tom Corbett this week does nothing to undo the damage sustained by two consecutive years of deep cuts nearing $1 billion.  “We are always grateful when we can have additional funding coming from the state,” said Rick Vensel, South Middleton School District business and operations manager. “But unfortunately it is minimal and there are several other areas where we are not getting additional funding.”

YDR EDITORIAL: Pennsylvania charter reform proposal a good start
York Daily Record 02/08/2013 12:48:02 PM EST
After dropping the ball on charter school reform in the waning days of the last session, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is taking another swing at it.  House Majority Leader Mike Turzai calls the new reform package a starting point.
That's good.

YDR EDITORIAL: School funding held hostage
York Daily Record 02/07/2013 10:26:04 AM EST
There, right before lawmakers' very eyes, Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday kidnapped education funding in the state Capitol.
What does he want for its return?
Public employee pension reform.
And if his demand isn't met, the governor might have to do some cutting.
Rather than the meager increase Corbett proposed in his 2013-14 budget presentation, schools could actually receive less in this budget.

Lowest-achieving list sparks ire among Delco schools
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Delco Times By VINCE SULLIVAN vsullivan@delcotimes.com @vincesullivan
A Pennsylvania Department of Education release listing the lowest-achieving schools in the state includes 27 in Delaware County from seven districts, enabling students to apply for scholarships to better-performing schools.  Only Allegheny and Philadelphia counties, home to the state’s two largest cities, had more low-achieving schools, with 43 and 177, respectively.

“While more cuts have not been proposed in education, this year's proposed budget is not enough to reverse the slashes made last year and begin restoring education across the state, Hanger said.  "Education in Pennsylvania is worse two years after Gov. Corbett," he said. "Because of the governor, it's literally a disaster. It's a direct result of his choices."
Governor candidate John Hanger discusses his plans for Pennsylvania
Chambersburg Public Opinion Online By SAMANTHA COSSICK @SCossickPO
CHAMBERSBURG - The election for Pennsylvania governor may be more than a year away, but Democrat John Hanger has already begun throwing his hat in the ring and visiting communities around the state.  During his upcoming campaign, Hanger said he plans to focus on education, health care and environmental issues statewide and on a local level - something he feels Gov. Tom Corbett has not done during his "failed leadership."

Duquesne recovery officer says move students to other districts

By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 11, 2013 1:12 pm
The chief recovery officer for the Duquesne City School District has recommended sending Duquesne's approximately 440 students in grades K-6 to neighboring districts on a voluntary basis for the 2013-2014 school year and shuttering the current Duquesne Elementary School.
That option, announced today, was the second of among four that Paul B. Long outlined last month as possible plans for the academically and financially failing district. The report said a community forum would be held to explain the plan, but no date has been set.

Legal status of two Philly charter schools still uncertain
Martha Woodall, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Monday, February 11, 2013, 8:14 PM
More than six months after a federal grand jury charged charter-school founder Dorothy June Brown and four administrators with defrauding the schools of more than $6.5 million, the legal status of two of the schools remains unresolved.

Philly school reforms hinge on the question of 'for whom?'
WHYY Newsworks February 11, 2013 By Chris Satullo
Amid the turmoil over how to fix the Philadelphia schools, one core point of disagreement rarely gets voiced explicitly.  It revolves around this question: For whom are we fixing the schools?
Here are the two warring answers:
1) Our primary focus should be on doing right by the children of poverty. These at-risk kids are doomed by the accidents of their birth to attend lousy schools set in rotten environments, leaving them will no fair chance in life.
2) The other side replies: It's equally important to do right by the children of the middle class, the kids whose parents have choices on where to send them to school. You have to offer the parents of such kids enticing options if you want them to stick with city schools. If you just shrug as they hop onto the suburban shuttle, or push their kids into the Friends school funnel, you'll never gain the resources to do right by the kids of poverty.

Hite promises changes to Philly school-closings plan
Susan Snyder, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013, 7:23 PM
Impressed with the input he has received, Philadelphia schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. on Monday said changes will be made to the controversial school-closings plan, but he declined to be specific.  The School District has heard from about 4,000 people at 14 meetings, and it has received 38 alternative proposals from activists, educators, a state legislator, and others, Hite said.  "We're spending time really trying to vet every one of those proposals," he said, noting that "some are very good." "Some of our recommendations will change based on some of the proposals we have received."

When Philly schools close, what happens to the buildings?
Kristen A. Graham, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER POSTED: Monday, February 11, 2013, 5:04 PM
If plans move forward to shut one in six Philadelphia schools, what happens to the discarded buildings?  A newly-released examination of other big-city school districts' closures by the Pew Charitable Trust shows that charter schools are likely to snap up some of the buildings. Pew found that more than 40 percent of cities' closed buildings were re-used by charters.

Philadelphia and Other Big Cities Struggle to Find Uses for Closed Schools
Pew Charitable Trusts website Feb 11, 2013
Large-scale public school closures have become a fact of life in many American cities, and that trend is not likely to stop now. Shuttered Public Schools: The Struggle to Bring Old Buildings New Life (PDF) looks at what happens to the buildings themselves, studying the experiences of Philadelphia and 11 other cities that have decommissioned large numbers of schools in recent years: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa and Washington.
On December 13, 2012, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced tentative plans to shutter 15 percent of Philadelphia’s district-run schools, 37 in all, in what would be one of the nation’s largest single-year closings. If those plans are adopted, even in pared-down form, the district will have a lengthy list of empty buildings on its hands, on top of those it already has. 

William Penn suspends city-related grants, cites Ethics Board complaint
Citypaper by Daniel Denvir POSTED: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2013, 7:59 PM
Follow on Twitter @DanielDenvir
The William Penn Foundation has suspended grant-making to city-related agencies after public education advocates filed a complaint charging that the $2 billion philanthropy violated Philadelphia's new lobbying code when it funded and directed millions of outside dollars to pay the Boston Consulting Group to develop a controversial restructuring plan for the School District of Philadelphia

Access EPLC’s Analysis of Governor Corbett’s Proposed Education Budget
Education Policy and Leadership Center
Below  are instructions to listen to the Wednesday, February 6 11:00 a.m. conference call recording of EPLC’s analysis of Governor Corbett’s Proposed Education Budget.  The call recording is 25 minutes in length.
2. At the prompt, enter your name and email address.
3. Click “Submit”. The playback will begin.

Education Policy and Leadership Center
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM (Harrisburg February 13)
SUBJECT: Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget for 2013-2014
"Capital Region Breakfast Series" Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Harrisburg Hilton Hotel - Two North Second St., Harrisburg, PA 17101
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2013-2014 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Sharon Ward, The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
State and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
 Dr. Eric Eshbach, Superintendent, Northern York County School District
Jay D. Himes, CAE, Executive Director, PA Association of School Business Officials
Joan L. Benso, President and CEO, PA Partnerships for Children
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

Education Policy and Leadership Center
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM (Pittsburgh February 14)
SUBJECT: Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget for 2013-2014
"Western PA Breakfast Series" Thursday, February 14, 2013
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Holiday Inn Pittsburgh University Center - 100 Lytton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2013-2014 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Sharon Ward, The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
State and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
 Dr. Joseph Clapper, Superintendent, Quaker Valley School District
Michelle Figlar, Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children
Brett Lago, Business Manager, Penn-Trafford School District
Kenneth P. Service, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

Education Policy and Leadership Center
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM (Philadelphia February 27)
SUBJECT: Governor Corbett's Proposed Education Budget for 2013-2014
"Southeastern Region Breakfast Series" Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel - 201 North 17th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2013-2014 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Sharon Ward, The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
State and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
 Mark B. Miller, School Director, Centennial School District
Joe Otto, Chief Operations Officer, William Penn School District
Michael Churchill, Of Counsel, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Dr. Stephen D. Butz
, Superintendent, Southeast Delco School District
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

Left Turn: What They’re Saying: Popularity of Obama K-12 Waivers in Decline
Education and the Workforce Committee WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 11, 2013
As it turns out, President Obama’s controversial plan to rewrite K-12 education law via executive fiat isn’t as popular as the administration thought. A growing number of education leaders and policy experts have recently come forward to express their doubts about the president’s waiver scheme, noting the waivers fail to provide the lasting, meaningful reform our nation’s children deserve:

NSBA urges White House to protect federal K-12 funding
NSBA School Board News Today By Joetta Sack-Min February 11, 2013
The economic impact of federal budget cuts now scheduled for early March would lead to long-term damage to investments in education and the nation’s infrastructure, White House economic advisers told representatives from Washington organizations at a Feb. 6 meeting.
National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel participated in the White House meeting to discuss ways that the impending federal budget cuts could be halted for education and other domestic policy programs.  The sequester, which is the automatic across-the-board cuts amounting to about 5.1 percent reductions in all federal programs, will take place in March unless Congress approves a new plan.

A warning to college profs from a high school teacher
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog by Valerie Strauss on February 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm
For more than a decade now we have heard that the high-stakes testing obsession in K-12 education that began with the enactment of No Child Left Behind 11 years ago has resulted in high school graduates who don’t think as analytically or as broadly as they should because so much emphasis has been placed on passing standardized tests. Here, an award-winning high school teacher who just retired, Kenneth Bernstein, warns college professors what they are up against. Bernstein, who lives near Washington, D.C. serves as a peer reviewer for educational journals and publishers, and he is nationally known as the blogger “teacherken.” His e-mail address is kber@earthlink.net. This appeared in Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors.

Press Release from United Opt Out National
Email:  unitedoptoutnational@gmail.com  Website: http://unitedoptout.com
OCCUPY THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 2.0
The Battle for Public Schools Washington, DC on April 4-7, 2013
Administrators of the public education advocacy group UNITED OPT OUT NATIONAL are hosting the second annual event on the grounds of the US Department of Education in Washington, DC on April 4-7, 2013. We ask all of those in support of teachers, students and public schools to attend. The third day will include an organized march to the White House.



Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
SAVE THE DATE: 2013 Pennsylvania Budget Summit Feb. 21st
Many Pennsylvanians have sent a clear message to Harrisburg in recent months: The state budget cuts of the past two years were too deep. It is time to once again invest in classrooms and communities.  Join the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center for an in-depth look at the Governor's proposal and an update on the federal budget -- and what they mean for communities and families across Pennsylvania.
2013 Pennsylvania Budget Summit
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hilton Harrisburg, 1 North Second Street, Harrisburg, PA
Registration is free and lunch is included.
REGISTER TO ATTEND

EPLC 2013 REGIONAL WORKSHOPS FOR SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES

The Education Policy and Leadership Center, with the Cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), will conduct A Series of Regional Full-Day Workshops for 2013 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.  Registration is $45 and includes coffee/donuts, lunch, and materials.  
Pittsburgh Region Saturday, February 23, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Doubletree Hotel Pittsburgh/Monroeville, 101 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, PA 15146
To register, please click here.

2013 PSBA Leadership Symposium on Advocacy and Issues
April 6, 2013 The Penn Stater Convention Center Hotel; State College, PA
Strategic leadership, school budgeting and advocacy are key issues facing today's school district leaders. For your school district to truly thrive, leaders must maintain a solid understanding of these three functions. Attend the 2013 PSBA Leadership Symposium on Advocacy and Issues to ensure you have the skills you need to take your district to the next level.

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