Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 19, 2013: Senate Approp. Cmte Chair Corman would consider $350 million Capitol Stock and Franchise tax cut rollback.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 19, 2013:
Senate Approp. Cmte Chair  Corman would consider $350 million Capitol Stock and Franchise tax cut rollback.  

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

Corman would consider $350 million Capitol Stock and Franchise tax cut rollback.  House GOP divided. 
Capitolwire Under the Dome June 18,2013
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jake Corman, R-Centre, today said he would “consider” rolling back the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT) to its 2012 rate, as House and Senate Democratic leaders have proposed. He became the first major General Assembly Republican leader to publicly take that stance. But after he spoke, House GOPers showed division on this issue.CLICK HERE (paywall) to read Capitolwire Bureau Chief Peter L. DeCoursey’s story about the CSFT issue.

“Meanwhile, Mr. Corman said he's willing to consider a freeze in the phaseout of the state Capital Stock and Franchise Tax or a House-approved bill to close part of the Delaware tax loophole for businesses as a way to generate new state revenue.”
PA Senate weighs distressed school aid
Scranton Times-Tribune BY ROBERT SWIFT (HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF) June 18, 2013
HARRISBURG - Providing special state aid to distressed school districts for a second year in a row is an issue facing senators as the House-approved state budget bill lands in their lap.
This aid would be in addition to what districts receive through their basic education subsidy.
Senators are looking at how much aid would be provided, how to define which of the 500 school districts are considered distressed and the aid distribution formula, said Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman, R-34, Bellefonte, on Monday.

Deal said to be in works on school finances
POSTED: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:52 PM
Gov. Corbett's administration - along with city and state officials - is working to assemble a funding package that could pump as much as $100 million more into the coffers of the Philadelphia School District, according to sources with knowledge of the high-level talks.
But the money, which could include federal funds the state would send to the cash-strapped district, might come with hefty strings attached, they said.
The additional aid would be contingent on the district's ability to obtain major concessions from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, including requiring teachers to work a longer school day and contribute to their health-care coverage, sources said.

Philly City Council leaves school funding largely to state lawmakers
TROY GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER  Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 6:29 AM
Philadelphia City Council plans to pass the city's budget and begin the summer recess Thursday with the task of solving the School District's financial crisis left largely in the hands of state lawmakers.  That would turn the tables from the last two years, when Council approved taxes that raised $125 million for the schools without the state's contributing any money.  This month, Council unanimously passed a $2-a-pack cigarette tax that would raise $46 million for the schools, but the state also must approve that levy.

“No one should think that solving this year’s funding crisis will “solve” how Pennsylvania funds schools, particularly given the low state appropriation to k-12 education. In the most recent data from the US Census Bureau Pennsylvania’s  state funding per capita was lower than every surrounding state, and the state’s share of the total cost of education was only 35.8%, making it the 8th lowest in the country.  As a consequence of insufficient state support, districts must rely on local property taxes, leaving  poor rural and urban districts with insufficient money to pay for necessities for all students to have a fair opportunity to meet state standards.
Fixing Philadelphia’s School Funding Problem Requires More than Ending this Year’s Deficit
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia June 2013
Secretary of Education Harner’s recent recognition that contributions from the state as well as the teachers and the city are necessary in order to have a solution for the School District’s 2013-14 budget crisis is welcome news to parents and advocates for Philadelphia’s children, if it is enacted.   But it is not a long-run solution for either Philadelphia or the state.
It is indeed worth celebrating that he agrees that the City and District’s “strategy to close the budget gap is spot on.”  That strategy called for $120 million increase from the state, $60 million from the City, and $180 million in give-backs or slowdown in increases from the teachers’ union.  No prominent official in the state has previously endorsed the urgent need for state funding at this level. That should put additional pressure on City Council to come through with its $60 million share and for concessions from the PFT.

“We believe this public school funding crisis is one that has been manufactured and can be solved when reasonable approaches are used.”
Letter: With common sense, Pa. budget can save public education statewide
WHYY Newsworks LTE by By Linda J. Weaver June 18, 2013
Linda J. Weaver is a leader of the Council for the Advancement of Public Schools.
With the deadline to pass the 2013-2014 Pennsylvania budget closing in, the Council for the Advancement of Public Schools believes it's critically important to establish a plan and budget that provides fair, adequate, equitable and sustainable funding for public education now and in the future. Without a resolution to this funding crisis, a significant number of districts will be pushed to the breaking point in this upcoming fiscal year.

Education Policy and Leadership Center

Gov. Corbett's pension reform: Good as dead? Commonwealth Confidential Blog by Angela Coloumbis Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 11:28 PM
None of the legislative leaders has ever been more than politically polite when assessing Gov. Corbett's proposal to rein in the skyrocketing cost of public pensions in Pennsylvania.
But on Tuesday, a top Senate Republican all but said that the governor's full plan is as good as dead.  Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) told reporters that the chamber was expected to vote on a bill this week that picks up only a small piece of Corbett's plan: moving all new employees into 401(k)-style plans.

This article has links to several other PN pieces – in case you were wondering, there is no longer any mention of lliquor privatization proceeds benefiting public education…..
Highlights of Sen. Chuck McIlhinney's liquor privatization plan
By Jan Murphy | on June 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks County, unveiled a liquor privatization plan today that would allow beer distributors to sell six-packs and the 14,000 current licensed establishments the opportunity to buy expanded permits to sell wine and/or spirits.

Bethlehem accepts grant for charter school over district's objections
By Lynn Olanoff | The Express-Times  on June 18, 2013 at 9:23 PM
Bethlehem City Council tonight supported accepting a $3 million state grant for a charter school over the objections of the Bethlehem Area School District.  School district officials said they didn’t think the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts should  receive a state grant when charter schools cost taxpayers so much money.
State redevelopment capital assistance program grants are supposed to expand tax bases and create jobs, and the planned new charter school does neither, Bethlehem Area School Board President Michael Faccinetto said. The new school will allow the charter school to add 200 students — if 100 of those are from Bethlehem, it’ll cost the district $1 million annually, he said.
“It’s not fair to us and it’s an insult to public education,” Faccinetto said.

Without board knowledge, four Scranton teachers learn of furloughs
Scranton Times-Tribune BY SARAH HOFIUS HALL (STAFF WRITER) Published: June 18, 2013
At least four Scranton School District teachers were notified of impending furloughs without the knowledge of most members of the school board.
Principals notified two English and two math teachers, all on the secondary-level, about the furloughs on Friday, Superintendent William King said Monday. The teachers union president claims the district told even more teachers they may not have jobs next year.
Any furloughs would not be official until a board vote. Directors, who are embarrassed - and angry - about the administration's actions, will work to keep all jobs, they said.
"There's no teacher going anywhere, that's it," board President Nathan Barrett said. "The only people who hire or fire are the board."

Easton Area School Board approves list of 43 staff cuts
By Peter Panepinto | The Express-Times  on June 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM
The Easton Area School Board tonight approved the elimination of 43 employees, including 19 teachers.  About half of the cuts came through attrition, according to Chief Operating Officer Michael Simonetta. Simonetta said 14 teacher cuts are through attrition and five teachers are being furloughed. Seven of the 11 support staff layoffs are through attrition, he said.

Upper Darby budget includes 2.94 percent tax increase
Delco Times By LINDA REILLY, Times Correspondent Wednesday, June 19, 2013
UPPER DARBY — The Upper Darby School Board approved the 2013-2014 budget at a recent meeting.  The board adopted the $165.5 million budget at the recommendation of Business Manager Ed Smith that includes the $2.6 million commitment from the district’s unassigned fund balance.  The budget calls for a 0.965 mill increase, from 32.85 mills to 33.815 mills, or 2.94 percent.

How Pennsylvania Betrayed Its Schools
Diane Ravitch’s Blog By dianerav June 18, 2013 //
This commentary was written by a retired superintendent of schools.
Pennsylvania’s Tragic Betrayal of its Public Schools
By Joseph Batory, Former Superintendent of Schools, Upper Darby School District, Drexel Hill, PA

Those states now can ask for another round of waivers to delay implementing teacher evaluation programs until 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — States can ask for another year before using student test results to decide whether to keep or fire teachers, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told school chiefs on Tuesday.  Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia have earned permission from the Education Department to ignore parts of the No Child Left Behind education law in exchange for school improvement plans. As part of those plans, many states have linked student performance on standardized tests with teacher evaluations — a move that teacher unions protested and Republicans criticized as Washington overreach.

Education Chief Lets States Delay Use of Tests in Decisions About Teachers’ Jobs
New York Times By MOTOKO RICH Published: June 18, 2013
Acknowledging that the nation’s educators face large challenges in preparing students for more rigorous academic standards and tests, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, told state education officials on Tuesday that they could postpone making career decisions about teachers based on performance evaluations tied to new tests.

Sec’y Duncan - New Flexibility for States Implementing Fast-Moving Reforms: Laying Out Our Thinking
US Department of Education Homeroom Blog Posted on June 18, 2013 by Arne Duncan
Over the last four years, states and school districts across America have embraced an enormous set of urgent challenges with real courage: raising standards to prepare young people to compete in the global economy, developing new assessments, rebuilding accountability systems to meet the needs of each state and better serve at-risk students, and adopting new systems of support and evaluation for teachers and principals. Meeting this historic set of challenges all at once asks more of everybody, and it’s a tribute to the quality of educators, leaders, and elected officials across this country that so many have stepped up.

Why the NCTQ teacher prep ratings are nonsense
Washington Post Answer Sheet By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm
The National Council on Teacher Quality, an organization that is funded by organizations that promote a corporate-influenced school reform agenda, just issued ratings of teacher preparation programs that is getting a lot of attention in the ed world. The ratings are seriously flawed. Explaining how in this post is teacher education expert Linda Darling-Hammond, chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University.

NSBA lauds House ESEA bill, but calls to eliminate funding restraints
NSBA School Board News Today by Joetta Sack Min June 18, 2013
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) supports a new bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) but asks members of the U.S. House of Representatives to change provisions that would stifle federal and state education funding.
The bill, H.R. 5, will be considered by the Education and the Workforce Committee on June 19. NSBA has sent a letter to Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member George Miller that praises the legislation’s provisions that would help restore local governance and give local school districts more flexibility to improve student achievement based on local needs.

PA Charter Schools: $4 billion taxpayer dollars with no real oversight

Keystone State Education Coalition Prior Posting
Charter schools - public funding without public scrutiny

Save the Date: Diane Ravitch will be speaking at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library on September 17 at 7:30 pm.  Details to come.

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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