Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 15, 2013: “Poor school districts get less under $28.3B Pa. House budget plan”

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 15, 2013:
“Poor school districts get less under $28.3B Pa. House budget plan”

Send an email to Harrisburg on school funding
Education Voters PA
As the budget process continues please consider contacting the legislative leadership listed below regarding the education budget ; here’s part of their job description:

PA Constitution - Public School System Section 14.

“The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”
PA Legislature Republican Leadership 2013
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman
Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai
House Appropriation Committee Chairman William Adolph
House Speaker Sam Smith
Governor Tom Corbett 
717-787-2500, Fax: 717-772-8284

Poor school districts get less under $28.3B Pa. House budget plan
Pottstown Mercury By Evan Brandt Friday, 06/14/13 12:01 am
HARRISBURG — The $28.3 billion budget passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with only Republican votes Wednesday gives the smallest increases in state aid to area poor school districts like Pottstown and the largest increases to wealthier districts like Perkiomen Valley, according to a Mercury analysis.
The House budget must still be reconciled with a budget being prepared by the state Senate, and then signed by Gov. Tom Corbett before it becomes final, but unless changes are made in the Senate, the trend of giving smaller increases to poorer districts with the greatest local tax burden will extend the pattern followed in recent years. Both chambers of the General Assembly and the governor’s office have been controlled by Republicans since 2011.

Pa. teachers union report details impact of reduced funding on schools
By Jan Murphy |  on June 14, 2013 at 6:32 AM
The $860 million cut in education funding from two years ago that has yet to be fully restored continues to make for some hard decision-making in school board meeting rooms around the commonwealth.  Steelton-Highspire School District is considering eliminating preschool and switching to half-day kindergarten.
Bristol Borough School District in Bucks County eliminated elementary art, music, and physical education programs last year and there’s no chance of them being resurrected for next year.
Access to the library at the middle and high school libraries in Berks County’s Daniel Boone School District is now limited to every other day.
Meanwhile, out in Clairton City School District in Allegheny County, officials there took to heart Gov. Tom Corbett’s advice for ailing districts to consider merging with another. Clairton asked its neighboring districts but got no takers.
These and other anecdotes included in a new report, “Sounding the Alarm 2,”released today by the Pennsylvania State Education Association speak to the changes taking place in school districts around the state.

“To increase state revenues, the report suggests curtailing the phase-out of the Capital Stock & Franchise Tax, a move the union contends would generate $365 million in revenues.”
President of Pennsylvania teachers union calls for more education funding
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette June 13, 2013 11:43 pm
For the second year in a row, the president of the state's largest teachers union is calling for the Legislature to increase funding to public schools and to create alternative revenue sources to fund them.  In addition, Mike Crossey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, is asking that school districts be relieved of restrictions they now face on local real estate taxes in order to make up for the loss of state funding and for the legislature to enact a "rational funding formula" for education. He said Pennsylvania is one of three states without a funding formula.

It was good meeting Acting Secretary of Education William Harner at this event yesterday. He made a point of seeking out and engaging school board members.  In addition to PSBA 1st Vice President Mark Miller and other members of host district Centennial School Board, I attended as PSBA Region 15 Director (Delaware and Chester Counties) and Tina Viletto as PSBA Region 11 Director (Bucks and Montgomery Counties); Tina is also the Legislative Director at the MCIU.
Governor Corbett visits William Tennent High School in Warminster to sign new special education legislation. By Naomi Hall Staff writer Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 4:00 pm
Gov. Tom Corbett has signed a bill into law that forms a committee designed to ensure that school districts get equitable funding for special education in Pennsylvania.
Act 3, formerly known as House Bill 2, creates a 15-member legislative commission to develop a funding system for special education that is based on the number of district students who need special education services, state officials said.
State Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-29, and Senator Pat Brown, R-Lehigh, sponsored the bill that the governor signed in a Friday ceremony at William Tennent High School in Warminster.

PDE Press Release June 14, 2013
Governor Corbett Signs Bill to Improve Special Education Funding 
Warminster – Governor Tom Corbett today ceremonially signed legislation that will improve the way special education funds are distributed in Pennsylvania schools.
“This legislation marks another step in our journey toward providing a full and equitable education for our students with intellectual and physical disabilities,’’ Corbett said.
Joining the governor in a special ceremony today at the William Tennant High School were sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Bucks), as well as Acting Secretary of Education Dr. William Harner and representatives of several special education organizations, including the Education Law Center and The Arc of Pennsylvania.

"In total, the school-based, regional and central administrative office reductions represent 19.9 percent of the current 19,530-member workforce," the statement said. Since 2011, overall staff has been reduced by 34.3 percent and central administration by 44.6 percent.
District lays off 76 in central and regional administration; eliminates 137 jobs
Notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 14 2013 Posted in Latest news
The other shoe has dropped: The School District issued layoff notices Friday to 76 employees in its central and regional offices, eliminating 137 jobs.
"The new round of layoffs will impact all central administrative offices, including academic and operational functions," said a District statement. The layoffs will save $23 million. Some departments were cut by 40 percent.
These cuts come on top of 3,783 layoffs announced last week of school-based personnel, including all counselors and secretaries, most assistant principals, and all support personnel.

The Aftermath of 3,783 Layoffs: What Will Philadelphia Schools Look Like?
Huffington Post by Hillary Linardopoulos Posted: 06/12/2013 10:09 am
Hillary Linardopoulos is a 3rd grade teacher, Julia de Burgos Elementary School in Philadelphia
Last Friday--June 7--was a dreary, rainy day in Philadelphia. A cruel foreshadowing, perhaps, for the announcement that would shock Philadelphians and educators everywhere later that afternoon.  At 4:30 PM, the news broke: 3,783 members of the School District of Philadelphia community were laid off. Three thousand. Seven hundred. Eighty-three. People.
What would a school look like without these folks?

Here’s a dozen revenue ideas from Jessie Ramey at Yinzercation
Where’s the $$$?
Yinzercation Blog June 13, 2013
As expected, the Pennsylvania House passed a budget yesterday that does next to nothing to help our public schools. The debate now moves to the Senate, but if the strict party-line vote in the House was any indication, Republicans in Harrisburg are sticking to their mantra that the state is broke and can’t afford to adequately fund education. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai from here in Allegheny County claims that this proposed budget “lives within our means, just like families and businesses across the state.” [Penn Live, 6-12-13]  But when Rep. Turzai or Gov. Corbett and others say we have to “live within our means,” what they really mean is that our schools must continue to cut into the bone – ditching art, music, library, tutoring, Kindergarten, books, supplies, field trips, athletics, and thousands of teachers – while families struggle to make up the difference. That’s not living within our means, that’s just mean.
This is about budget priorities. There is money, but it’s not going to public education (or our other public goods). 

Chicago Public School System Lays Off 850 in Move to Cut Budget
New York Times By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 14, 2013
Nearly 850 Chicago Public Schools employees received layoff notices on Friday, hours after officials said they had identified $52 million in administrative and operational cuts to help close an estimated $1 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year. Eliminating almost 100 central office positions and adopting more efficient building maintenance will help save $20.7 million, on top of $31.6 million in cuts announced earlier this year, officials said.

Private Preschools See More Public Funds as Classes Grow
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: June 13, 2013 169 Comments
CHICAGO — The preschoolers who arrived at school early for free breakfast on a recent morning quietly ate granola bars and yogurt as middle school students recited part of the rosary over the public address system.  Almost none of the 4- and 5-year-olds attending the Academy of St. Benedict the African, a parochial school here in the poverty-stricken Englewood neighborhood, are Catholic. But virtually all of them pay little or no tuition, which is subsidized by public funds.
Starting this fall, under an expansion led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the number of Catholic schools in the city receiving taxpayer money for preschool will nearly double. Across the country, states and districts are increasingly funneling public funds to religious schools, private nursery schools and a variety of community-based nonprofit organizations that conduct preschool classes.

Five Questions as NCLB Reauthorization Moves Forward
Education Week Politics K-12 Blog By Alyson Klein on June 14, 2013 3:09 PM
Well, forwardish. There's going to be a lot more action in Congress this year than we've seen at any time since way back in 2001, when the No Child Left Behind Act passed and George W. Bush was president and "Friends" was the hottest sitcom and no one was tweeting NCLB markups because Twitter wouldn't be invented for five more years.
Of course, all this action action probably won't result in a brand new version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year, but it will set the stage for whatever comes next.
So pay close attention to these questions:

CAPS Forum on Community Schools Saturday June 15, 9 am1:30 pm
Kensington CAPA High School, Front & Berks Streets, Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS)
Over the past year, in forums, workshops, listening sessions, and through surveys, thousands of students, parents, community members and school staff voiced their desire for an educational system that provides a well-rounded education parallel to what affluent districts offer, but that also addresses the challenges that come with poverty. We understand that all of our schools must provide:
·          A rigorous academic curriculum
·          Enrichment activities such as sports, art, music, drama
·          Coordinated supports and services that address the social-emotional as well as the academic needs of students and their families.
The Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) has done our research! After meeting with experts from around the country, we have concluded that the most equitable, effective, financially sound strategy for our city is one that embraces community schools for all children.
Please join us on Saturday, June 15th for the Community Schools Conference (9am-2pm) at Kensington CAPA High School (Front & Berks St.) to learn more from national experts and work with others on a strategy to make this a reality for our city.
Please encourage your networks to attend and feel free to bring a friend! Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP at

EPLC Education Policy Fellowship Program – Apply Now
Applications are available now for the 2013-2014 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).
With more than 350 graduates in its first fourteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.
The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 12-13, 2013 and continues to graduation in June 2014.

Building One America 2013 National Summit July 18-19, 2013 Washington, DC
Brookings Institution to present findings of their “Confronting Suburban Poverty” report
Building One America’s Second National Summit for Inclusive Suburbs and Sustainable Regions will involve local leaders and federal policy makers to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique but common challenges around housing, schools and infrastructure facing America’s metropolitan regions and its diverse middle-class suburbs. Participants will include local elected and grassroots leaders from America’s diverse middle class suburban towns and school districts, scholars and policy experts, members of the Obama Administration and Congress.  The summit will identify comprehensive solutions and build bipartisan support for meaningful action to stabilize and support inclusive middle-class communities and promote sustainable, economically competitive regions.

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

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