Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 11, 2013: Corbett's education secretary Tomalis said to be leaving

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PSBA Region 15 Members (Delaware and Chester Counties) May 30
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.

Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for May 11, 2013:
Corbett's education secretary Tomalis said to be leaving

Corbett's education secretary Tomalis said to be leaving
POSTED: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 3:01 AM
Another member of Gov. Corbett's cabinet is on his way out.
Education Secretary Ron Tomalis is looking for another job and does not intend to stay past summer as Corbett's education czar, two senior administration officials have told The Inquirer on condition of anonymity.  An official timetable has yet to be set for his exit, but the sources said Tomalis would likely stay in his $149,804 job until after the July 1 deadline for getting a state budget passed and signed into law.

Officials discuss benefits of early learning programs
Delco Times Published: Thursday, May 09, 2013
SHARON HILL — Local legislators, school officials and law enforcement officers discussed the benefits of quality early learning programs for children during a roundtable discussion Thursday morning.  The officials discussed how Gov. Tom Corbett’s 2013-14 state budget proposal includes a 5 percent increase for the Pre-K Counts and state-funded Head Start programs; a $7.1 million increase to reduce Pennsylvania’s child care waiting list; and a $3 million increase to the Rising STARS initiative within the Keystone STARS child care quality improvement program. The Rising STARS initiative was developed to promote greater access for at-risk children to higher quality child care.

Corbett rolls a rock uphill
Daily News by John Baer POSTED: May 09, 2013
GOV. CORBETT, with his leadership in question and his job approval in the tank, promises basic societal collapse if he doesn't get his way on pensions.
He argues that unless the Legislature, which helped create the problem, slashes costs for state workers, lawmakers and teachers, well, things could get real ugly.
The picture he painted at a Capitol news conference yesterday?
Painful cuts in police and public safety, health and human services and, of course, education, where, he said, school districts could "be forced to raise taxes and lay off teachers."
I don't know, to me it sounds like any day in Philadelphia.

Radnor taxpayers may see reduction in school taxes
Published: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Delco Times By Linda Stein
RADNOR - Although the Radnor Township School Board adopted its $82.9 million 2013-2014 preliminary budget calling for no new tax increases just two weeks ago, recent numbers have members of the finance committee talking about lowering taxes.  The committee agreed to offer the full board two versions of the budget at the board’s May 28 meeting when it is slated to adopt the final budget.  District business manager Timothy Vail said that the district realized $99,279 in anticipated increased real estate tax revenues because of new residential construction. Also, because the district had joined a health care consortium, it will be able to save $203,000 on employee health costs.

Upper Dublin School Board continues to struggle with budget
Published: Thursday, May 09, 2013
Ambler Gazette By Linda Finarelli
One of four Upper Dublin teachers furloughed for next year may get to return next fall after all.  A proposed final 2013-14 budget reviewed at a board work session May 6 reflected cost reductions for nine of the 10 full-time instructors the board voted to furlough or terminate April 22, according to Business Administrator Brenda Bray.  Those furloughed, who had tenure, are placed on a call-back list, while the other six, who did not have tenure, are not. Who might get called back would be determined by seniority and certifications in terms of the position that might be reinstated, administrators said.

Easton school board hints at budget deal, job cuts
Board members choosing between three scenarios; each requires at least 29 layoffs.
By JD Malone, Of The Morning Call 9:45 p.m. EDT, May 9, 2013
It's a bit like an episode of "Let's Make a Deal," but the three doors don't hide prizes, just regrets.
The Easton Area School District Board of Education chattered Tuesday night about its pregnant 2013-14 budget – a budget with expenditures and expenses, but no tax hike or cost cuts set to balance the two

Boys, girls and fairness: The court can fix a rule that hurts female athletes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial May 11, 2013 12:14 am
Boys will be boys and girls will be girls. But when girls and boys come out to play, it's the adults who make matters complicated. Commonwealth Court has a chance to correct a long-ago decision that contributed to an unusual problem.

Clairton High School team needs funds to go to national robotics competition
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette May 11, 2013 12:10 am
The Clairton High School robotics team put in countless hours to design the fighting robots that were crowned the grand champions of the Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ Regional Competition last month at California University of Pennsylvania.  Since then, the team has been hard at work again, but this time on two tasks: the first, repairing and upgrading their robots; the second, raising enough money to attend the national robotics competition in Indianapolis next weekend.
While other schools districts may be able to cover the cost of sending their high school teams to the competition, Clairton, one of the region's smallest districts with about 780 students, and one of its poorest, cannot afford to pay the $4,000 minimum cost for the five students, the teacher sponsor and a chaperone to travel to Indianapolis for the competition. Ideally, the students are hoping to raise an additional $1,000 to purchase spare parts for their fighting robots, which like race cars, require replacement parts to be used during competitions.

Bill Gates’s $5 billion plan to videotape America’s teachers
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, May 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm
If, say, Dennis van Roekel or Randi Weingarten, the presidents of the nation’s two national  teachers unions, proposed spending as much as $5 billion to videotape every teacher in the United States so their performance could be judged by strangers as part of their evaluation, you can bet that they would be called nutty spendthrifts. By everyone.

“78% of Insiders still believe that ESEA will not be reauthorized until 2015”
Whiteboard Advisors News May 10, 2013
Summary: U.S. House Education and Workforce Hearing on ESEA Reauthorization 
This week, the House held a hearing to discuss ESEA and reauthorization. A few key takeaways: During the hearing, Committee Chairman John Kline noted that the Committee hopes to see a bill on the floor by July. While we may see a bill this summer, in our forthcoming Education Insider survey, 78% of Insiders still believe that ESEA will not be reauthorized until 2015. Many Insiders believe this bill will look similar to the ones Chairman Kline passed last year, and that the Committee will remain split down party lines on any new legislation. Check out our full summary here

House Informational briefing on the Common Core Standards from PA Dept. of Education Secretary Ron Tomalis.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:00 AM Room G50 Irvis Office Bldg.

Senate Public hearing on Common Core
Wednesday, May 15, 1:00 PM, Hearing Room 1 North Office Bldg

PSBA Region 15 Members (Delaware and Chester Counties)
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.
Penns Grant Region 15 -- Thursday, May 30 ; 5 p.m. Region 15 meeting; 6 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. Legislative meeting; Garnet Valley HS, 552 Smithbridge Rd., Glen Mills, 19342; registration is required

Superintendents, Business Managers, School Board Members, Union Leaders, Any Others interested in PSERS and wanting to learn more about Pension Reform . . .
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Registration: 6:30 p.m.  Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
Allegheny Intermediate Unit  475 East Waterfront Drive  Homestead, PA  15120  McGuffey/Sullivan Rooms
Jeffery B. Clay, Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Schools Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) will present on the topic of pension reform.  Mr. Clay’s presentation will review the increases in retirement contributions and the Governor’s proposal on pension reform.  As one concerned about public education, we are sure that you will find this meeting enlightening and a valuable investment of your time.
In order to accommodate those attending and prepare the necessary materials for the meeting, please register using the following link:  by May 7, 2013.
If you have any questions regarding the registration process, please contact Janet Galaski at 412.394.5753 or

Panel: Striking Back on High Stakes Testing hosted by Rethinking Schools
Panel Discussion Hosted by Rethinking Schools
Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 North Broad Street, Philadelphia
Wednesday, May 15, 2013  4:30pm until 6:00pm
Join CUNY Professor Michelle Fine and Rethinking Schools editors Stan Karp and Helen Gym for a conversation on fighting back against the testing industry's dismantling of public education. Suggested donation $10, or $20 for panel plus your copy of Rethinking Schools' newest book: "Pencils Down: High-stakes testing and accountability in public schools."
Space limited! RSVP:

Looking for PA Governor's School for the Arts Alumni
Pennsylvania Arts Education Network
For over 35 years, the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts was a robust summer program that provided over 10,000 students state-wide with extraordinary opportunities to develop their artistic talents, intellects, self-confidence, and leadership. Unfortunately, for budget reasons, state officials ended the program a few years ago. The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC)'s 2012 Arts and Education Policy Report recommended the school be reestablished and the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network is now urging that the Governor's School for the Arts be restored.
To support this effort, we would like to create a comprehensive list of alumni who attended the School. This list would be an important voice in supporting the reopening of the Governor's School for the Arts, and arts education in Pennsylvania, generally.
If you, or someone you know attended the Pennsylvania's Governor's School for the Arts, please complete this form and share with others. This list will be used internally, and will not be made public.   For more information about the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network and for news about the reestablishment of the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts, please visit

PSBA Bylaws amendment proposals due May 15
PSBA website 2/15/2013
As stated in Article XII, proposals for amending the PSBA Bylaws must be submitted "in writing, mailed first class and postmarked or marked received at PSBA headquarters prior to May 15 of each year."  Proposals should be addressed to the Bylaws Committee Chair or the Executive Director and sent to PSBA headquarters by the May 15, 2013, deadline.
The procedures for submitting proposed bylaws changes are outlined in Article XII and can be found online

Search underway for PSBA Executive Director
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth.  Founded in 1895, PSBA has a rich history as the first school boards' association established in the United States. Pennsylvania's 4,500 school directors become members by virtue of election to their local board -- the board joins as a whole. Membership in PSBA is by school district or other eligible local education agency such as intermediate unit, vocational school or community college……..
Search by Diversified Search, 1990 M St NW, Suite 570, Washington, DC. Questions may be directed to Interested parties should email their resume and cover letter to Please apply by June 1, 2013 for best consideration.

Sign Up Today for PILCOP Special Ed CLE Trainings
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia
Spots are filling up for the final two trainings in our 2012-2013 Know Your Child’s Rights series with seminars on ADAAA, Pro Se Parents and Settlement Agreements.
May 29, 2013: PRO SE Parents: Doing It on Your Own
May 30, 2013: Settlements: Signing on the Dotted Line (OR NOT)

Turning the Page for Change celebration, June 11, 2013
Please join us for the Notebook’s annual Turning the Page for Change celebration on June 11, 2013, from 4:30 - 7 p.m. at the University of The Arts, Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street. We will be honoring a member of the Notebook community for years of service to our mission as well as honoring several local high school journalists. Help us celebrate another year of achievement that included two awards from the Education Writers Association and coverage of other critical stories like the budget crisis and the school closing process.

Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School FAST FACTS
Quakertown Community School District March 2013

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight Keystone State Education Coalition (updated May 2, 2013)
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny; Proposed statewide authorization and direct payment would further diminish accountability and oversight for public tax dollars

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