Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup For February 6, 2013: Statewide Coverage and Reactions to Governor Corbett’s Budget Address

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup
For February 6, 2013: Statewide Coverage and Reactions to Governor Corbett’s Budget Address

PDE Press Release February 05, 2013
Governor Corbett Calls for Four-Year, $1 Billion Investment in Schools
2013-14 Education Budget Increases Funding $338 Million; Invests in Rigorous, Student-Focused Initiatives  
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today unveiled his 2013-14 state budget that invests an additional $338.1 million into education and ensures that schools provide student-focused educational programs.  In total, $11.7 billion, or 41 percent, of the state’s General Fund budget is slated for early, basic and higher education and public libraries.
“Governor Corbett has proposed to invest a historic level of funding into public education to ensure that students are offered high-quality academic programs,” Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said.  “Since education is the foundation of the state’s economy, Pennsylvania’s students deserve to have access to quality programs that will ensure their success in the future. The appropriate skills and academic credentials will afford our students the opportunity to remain competitive in a global economy.”  Read more

Text of Gov. Corbett's 2013-14 budget address
February 5, 2013 By WHYY NewsWorks staff
Gov. Tom Corbett's office provided this "as prepared for delivery" text of the 2013-14 budget speech, which was delivered in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

To see how much state taxpayer funding would be provided to your school district, select the district's name in the drop down menu below.
PDE’s website February 5, 2013
Governor’s Corbett’s proposed 2013-14 budget would provide Pennsylvania’s school districts with more than $9.83 billion in taxpayer assistance, representing the largest amount of state funding in Pennsylvania history.

“If the pension overhaul doesn’t happen, Corbett has promised to cut $175 million in overall state spending, an amount that if taken primarily out of basic education subsidies would wipe out the proposed $90 million increase. And as in the last five years, there is no increase in state support of special education.”
Corbett's budget might boost school funding
Increases hinge on pension fix, state store privatization.
By Scott Kraus, Of The Morning Call 9:44 p.m. EST, February 5, 2013
After two years of austerity that brought howls of protest from the education community, Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday offered local school districts a glimmer of optimism in his 2013-14 state budget.  The spending plan would increase school districts’ main state subsidy by 1.7 percent, adding $90 million in state support to boost basic education funding to $5.5 billion. The increase is nearly double last year’s hike.
And unlike previous years, Corbett is not threatening to eliminate $100 million in accountability grants. He’s adding a $200 million grant program, tied to liquor privatization, that would fund early education, individualized learning, school safety and math, technology and science programs.
But it all comes with a big “if” for school districts that are cobbling together their own 2013-14 budgets.

“"I think the best news is that the cutting has stopped for K-12 and higher education," said Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center.  "Beyond that, the small increases that are suggested for K-12 -- and it is only a $90 million increase -- don't begin to get school districts and programs and services for students back to where they were two years ago."”
Education basic subsidy up, but some say levels are too low
By Eleanor Chute / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 6, 2013 12:23 am
Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed state education budget for 2013-14 contains enough ideas to spark a lively debate for months.  First, there's the money. After school districts lost about $1 billion largely in federal funds in each of the last two years, the proposed budget provides $90 million additional for basic education funding, which the governor's materials described as "the first increase [in basic education subsidy] in two years."  That would bring the basic education subsidy for K-12 schools to $5.49 billion, a 1.67 percent increase.

“Rep. Bill Adolph, R-Delaware and chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, noted the change from Mr. Corbett's earlier budgets.  "I certainly was pleased compared to the last two years," he said. "We don't have the decrease in higher education. We're starting at a much better place this year."”
Governor loosening purse strings
Funding up for schools, welfare; pension overhaul key to his plan
By Karen Langley and Laura Olson / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 6, 2013 12:26 am
HARRISBURG -- After two years of stringent budget proposals, Gov. Tom Corbett on Tuesday asserted that Pennsylvania has turned a fiscal corner as he put forth a plan that increases state spending -- so long as legislators act to limit employer pension contributions next year.
In his third annual budget address, Mr. Corbett, a Republican, laid out a $28.4 billion spending plan, an increase of $679 million from the current fiscal year, that would boost funding for public schools and welfare and maintain appropriations for higher education.

“Legislature Democrats, union leaders and some education advocates said the new spending plan would not undo the damage done by previous cuts - nearly $1 billion two years ago. Some accused the governor of using education to try to unload the state store system and get pension reform.”
Corbett budget would boost education funding
POSTED: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 6:11 PM
The proposed state budget unveiled by Gov. Corbett would allow for some increase in basic education aid, more funding for early childhood education and a new block grant program that hinges on privatizing alcohol sales.  "My budget works to provide our public schools with enrichment funding to help them achieve academic excellence at all grade levels," Corbett said in his public address.

Corbett: Overhaul pensions — or else
POSTED: Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 11:52 AM
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett on Tuesday unveiled a $28.4 billion budget for the next fiscal year that appears to hold fast to his campaign promise of no new taxes, and would send more dollars to public schools as well as health and social welfare services.  But the more generous spending - the governor's plan is about 2.7 percent more than this year's $27.65 billion budget - comes with a big caveat: the legislature must approve Corbett's proposed overhaul of Pennsylvania's public pension spending.

“Corbett has warned that he might have to cut aid for crucial programs, such as public schools, unless his plan to change public pensions is adopted. The changes would allow him to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on other programs in his budget plan, but it's a tactic that is already being questioned by top Republicans who control the Legislature, and public employee unions have threatened a lawsuit.”
Corbett eyes 3 percent hike in spending; issues warning over pension crisis
Delco Times By Marc Levy Associated Press Published: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — An ambitious budget proposal released Tuesday by Gov. Tom Corbett would boost Pennsylvania's core state government spending by nearly 3 percent while increasing support for public schools, cutting business taxes and counting on the Legislature to adopt long-term changes to public pensions.

Very cool Word Cloud view of Governor’s Budget Address…..
WATCHBLOG: Corbett’s budget, word-for-word
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent February 5, 2013
HARRISBURG — When Gov. Tom Corbett delivered his budget address to lawmakers on Tuesday, he certainly had a lot to say.  Aside from the $28.4 billion spending plan and ambitious policy changes Corbett put forth, the speech topped 5,500 words and took nearly an hour.
Of course, that is largely typical for a speech of this momentum – the budget address doubles as a “State of the State” address that some governors in other states give. It kicks off the budget season that must wrap up by  June 30 – and gives the governor a chance to lay out his agenda.
Much will be said about Corbett’s proposal in the coming months as lawmakers and issue advocates pour over the line items, praising and cursing the decisions the governor has made. But can anyone consider Corbett’s priorities by looking at the very words in the speech?
Probably not, but we’re going to try anyway.
When we put Corbett’s speech into visualization generator Many Eyes, we found out that the favorite word in his budget address was, not too surprisingly, “Pennsylvania,” and its counterpart, “Pennsylvanians.”

Lawmakers give muted response to Corbett budget
By Robert J. Vickers | 
on February 05, 2013 at 5:55 PM, updated February 05, 2013 at 6:26 PM
The only thing missing from lawmakers' underwhelming reaction to Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed $28.4 billion budget Tuesday was the sound of crickets chirping during strategic pauses in his annual budget address.  “The room itself seemed to lack energy all the way around,” said Dave Patti, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Business Council, and a staunch Corbett ally.
At key points in the speech, Patti acknowledged, “You could hear a pin drop.”

PSBA Special Report:  Gov. Corbett’s 2013-14 State Budget Proposal
Join PSBA on Thursday, Feb. 14, at noon for a complimentary web conference to discuss the impact of the governor’s proposed 2013-14 state budget, as well as provide updates on pension and charter school reform issues. Details are at the end of this report.
Today Gov. Tom Corbett presented a $28.4 billion state spending plan for 2013-14, which is a 2.4% increase over 2012-13. The budget provides $9.55 billion for K-12 education. Funding for the Basic Education Subsidy would receive a modest $90 million, or 1.7%, increase, bringing the total to $5.5 billion. The largest increase in the education budget once again is allocated to pensions. The budget includes $1.08 billion, an increase of $223.9 million, or 26.2%, for school employees’ retirement costs.
Other specific education items under the governor’s plan are:

Reactions to Corbett's education budget
by thenotebook on Feb 05 2013 Posted in Latest news
Here are some reactions, so far, to Governor Corbett's newly unveiled education budget, which calls for a $90 million increase in basic education funding. 

“By mid-afternoon Tuesday, two senior Senate Republicans were already pushing back.
In a briefing with reporters, Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, said Zogby and the administration was entitled to his opinion that any cash lost by the failure to enact pension reform should come out of school spending.”
Pennsylvania Budget Analysis: Tom Corbett's gamble
Published: Tuesday, February 05, 2013, 3:51 By John L. Micek | 
Gov. Tom Corbett did something artful in the budget proposal he rolled out to a joint session of the state House and Senate on Tuesday.
He tied legislative authorization of two of his key priorities – pension reform and liquor store divestiture – to education funding, thus making majority Republicans in the House and Senate an offer they’ll have a hard time finding a way to refuse.
Public schools have become a politically sensitive subject in Harrisburg over the last two years. And there’s an argument to be made that the state Senate GOP lost legislative ground in 2012 because of its support for cuts to school funding.

Senate Majority Leader Pileggi and Senate Corman (Chairman of Appropriations Committee) discuss Governor’s Budget
Mp3 runtime: 25:25

About PABudgetNews
PA House Republicans on the 2012-13 Pennsylvania state budget process.

PA Senate Democrats Respond to Budget Proposal


PA House Democratic Leaders React to Budget Proposal

YouTube video runtime 1:59 Published on Feb 5, 2013
Pa. House Democratic Leaders say that after two years of putting the burden on working Pennsylvanians it's time for Gov. Corbett's budget to make common sense investments in schools, road & bridge repairs and a plan to help working families and the middle class. 

House Education Committee Minority Chairman Roebuck: Corbett budget would take 10 years to restore education funding - Also points out smaller percentage increases for low-income schools
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said he was disappointed in Gov. Tom Corbett's budget proposal today.  "The governor's comments on K-12 education funding were again misleading – his cuts went beyond the loss of the federal stimulus funding, and at his pace, it would take 10 years to get back to the funding level our children's schools had in 2010-11. The first Corbett budget cut about $900 million from categories such as kindergarten, early childhood education, tutoring and reimbursement for charter schools.
"The governor's proposed 1.7 percent increase for basic education would only represent flat funding, due to inflation – and to add insult to injury, wealthier school districts would get larger percentage increases than lower-income districts."

House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Sturla: governor’s budget proposal places privatization over Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, offered the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Corbett’s third budget address before a joint session of the state legislature at the state Capitol on Tuesday.
“In the preceding weeks, Governor Corbett traveled the state hinting at the bold policy initiatives he’d be introducing as part of this year’s budget proposal, but today all we were left with were timid approaches to Pennsylvania’s biggest challenges that are Band-Aids at best and wholly inadequate at worst,” Sturla said. “Pennsylvanians believe our problems are surmountable, but they require real leadership from the governor that is sorely lacking.
“The governor’s budget proposal favors selling off state assets to large, multinational corporations at the expense of our children’s education, senior programs and locally and family-owned businesses. His liquor and lottery privatization plans have failed to even appeal to members of his own party, because they provide one-time only injections of cash rather than the recurring $550 million our liquor industry pays into state coffers every year and the $1.06 billion our lottery generates annually for our seniors.

PBPC Statement: Governor's Budget Relies on Speculative Funding, Does Little to Restore Cuts of Last Two Years
PA Budget and Policy Center
HARRISBURG, PA (February 5, 2013) – Sharon Ward, director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, issued the following statement on Gov. Corbett’s 2013-14 budget proposal:
“The governor’s budget does little to reduce the trend of disinvestment in Pennsylvania schools and communities. It relies heavily on speculative and one-time sources of funding, and proposes expensive new corporate tax breaks that will continue to shift costs to local taxpayers. The budget fails to provide sustainable funding to reduce class sizes in public schools, keep college affordable for middle-class students, and ensure working families can obtain basic health care.”
“The governor’s budget will add only 1.7 percent to the basic education subsidy, doing little to reverse $840 million in education cuts 2 years ago. A new block grant, called "Passport for Learning," is entirely speculative, relying on liquor privatization that has failed to pass the General Assembly twice. The governor has an obligation to today's students to restore cuts that affect their lives and livelihoods. Progress on education funding should not be dependent on the outcome of other political debates.
"Many education funding increases are also conditioned on pension savings and, therefore, are in jeopardy. Lawmakers did not respond with applause to the governor’s pension plan during his budget address, suggesting those savings may be hard to come by."

Infographic: Education Funding in 2013-14 Budget
PA Budget and Policy Center website February 5, 2013
Total Pre-K through 12 education funding in Pennsylvania will reach $10 billion under the Governor's proposed 2013-14 budget. Classroom funding inched up slightly from 2012-13 but remains well below 2010-11 funding levels.

Education Voters PA Response to Governor Corbett’s Budget Address
Statement from Executive Director Susan Gobreski:
Over the past two years, Gov. Corbett has led the effort to cut nearly $2 billion in investments in the education of our children, causing program cuts, increases in class sizes and reductions in services like tutoring, library access and more. Along with the loss of dollars, under this administration we have lost significant ground on fixing a broken system for how schools are funded.  Nearly all of the progress that was made to fix that has been lost.  There are still terrible disparities from one community to the next and a ridiculous over-reliance on property taxes.

PP4C: Gov. Corbett's 2013-14 Budget Begins to Make Pennsylvania's Children a Priority
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children Press Release February 5, 2013
PA Partnerships for Children Lauds Investments in Education, Health Care
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children President and CEO Joan Benso today made the following comments on Gov. Tom Corbett's 2013-14 budget proposal:
"Governor Corbett's spending plan begins to move Pennsylvania in the right direction when it comes to common-sense investments in our children, who are without question Pennsylvania's greatest resource.
"Budgets are ultimately about priorities, and with this budget, the governor rightfully recognizes that Pennsylvania's 2.7 million children must be a priority," Benso said. "He wants to invest more in programs ranging from pre-kindergarten to health coverage to K-12 education that will build our commonwealth's human capital. When it comes to economic development, that's the smartest investment we can make."

PSBA's Federal Relations Network members attend 2013 NSBA conference, meet with Congress members
PSBA’s website 2/5/2013
With federal cuts to education looming, school board members from across Pennsylvania and the nation attended the FRN conference Jan. 27-29, 2013, in Washington, D.C., and met with their members of Congress on Capitol Hill.
FRN members advocated for the protection of federal education programs from across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled to occur under the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act, if Congress does not intervene before March 1, 2013. NSBA is reporting that budget cuts would be around 5.1% in fiscal year 2013-14, if the sequester is not averted, which amounts to $51,000 for every $1 million a school district receives in federal aid. In addition, these funding cuts would continue until the year 2021. School directors conveyed to their lawmakers how critical it is that the federal government fully funds federal programs and that sequestration is averted to ensure that all Pennsylvania students have the resources to thrive academically.

Obama to Congress: Halt Automatic Cuts to Federal Education Spending

 Alyson Klein  
President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to temporarily delay a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts set to hit federal K-12 education spending—as well as defense, criminal justice, and a whole host of other programs—on March 1.
Obama is putting forward a package of tax changes and spending cuts intended to buy some time so that lawmakers can come up with a broader agreement on spending. But he wasn't specific in a short speech Tuesday about just how long he was seeking to postpone the cuts—published reports say a few months—or exactly how he would pay for the delay.
The looming automatic budget cuts, known in Inside-the-Beltway-Speak as the "sequester," were intended as a way to prod Congress and the administration to come up with a long-term plan to reduce the federal deficit. Obama has long singled out the education cuts as particularly onerous, and Tuesday's speech was no exception:

Portland Joins Seattle As Site of Test Protests
Education Week District Dossier Blog By Jackie Zubrzycki on February 5, 2013 9:51 AM
A group of students in Portland, Ore. is organizing a boycott of the state's standardized tests, reports OregonLive. Students from the Portland Public Schools student union are leading the charge, which is capitalizing on momentum from the national attention paid to Seattle teachers who announced last month that they would not administer the MAP test (that's short for Measures of Academic Progress).  Though the Garfield High School teachers in Seattle have stated that they take issue with the MAP test in particular, not standardized tests in general, their protest sparked comments and statements of solidarity from national teachers' groups, from those who say standardized tests are overused, and even from the Seattle chapter of the NAACP. A Garfield studentrecently wrote suggesting that her classmates refuse to take the MAP test, a computer-based formative assessment.

Pittsburgh Feb. 10th Rally for Public Education!
Yinzercation Blog January 28, 2013
Come RALLY FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION on Sunday, February 10, 20133PM at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty (5941 Penn AvenuePittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206). This is about equity, social justice, and a great public education for all our children.

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.  Next month, Governor Tom Corbett will unveil his 2013-14 budget proposal. 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.


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.  
Harrisburg Region Saturday, February 9, 2013– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Headquarters, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
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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