Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 22, 2013: Money Laundering: New Hampshire calls EITC by its rightful name.

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 22, 2013:
Money Laundering: New Hampshire calls EITC by its rightful name.

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

Are Corbett's biz tax cuts in jeopardy?: Friday Morning Coffee
By John L. Micek |  on June 21, 2013 at 7:52 AM
Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Just when you think times couldn't get any more trying for Gov. Tom Corbett, they go and get even worse.  Just a day after dismal poll results had some pundits speculating whether Corbett would bother seeking reelection in 2014, a top Republican in the state Senate held open the possibility that one of Corbett's cherished goals -- the final elimination of Pennsylvania's Capital Stock and Franchise tax -- could be put on ice for another year in favor of shoring up the state's bottom line.

Here’s ALEC’s take on the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax courtesy of PMA….
ALEC on The Effects of Pennsylvania’s Capital Stock and Franchise Tax
PA Manufacturer’s Association published by Maura Donley on Fri, 06/21/2013 - 1:34pm
ALEC members request this brief on the scheduled phase-out of Pennsylvania’s Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT), which has been the subject of recent debate in the legislature. Under a plan adopted by the legislature in 2000, the CSFT was originally scheduled to be phased out completely by 2009. This plan was subsequently altered to delay the final phase-out date on four separate occasions in 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2011.  While the CSFT is currently scheduled to be eliminated entirely by January 1, 2014, some remain skeptical as to the detrimental effects of the tax on business and economic growth.

HB 618 on PA House Calendar for consideration on Monday June 24
This bill is a comprehensive amendment to the Charter School Law, including temporary reduction in funding for cyber charter schools, the creation of a funding commission, a system of direct payment to charter schools, accountability provisions and other improvements to the Charter School Law.

Governor Corbett Issues Statement on Philadelphia School District
PDE Press Release June 19, 2013
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the Philadelphia School District’s financial situation:
“As governor, I am committed to finding a long-term solution for the Philadelphia School District that is focused on students and is fiscally responsible for taxpayers.  “Over the past several weeks, many viable ideas and solutions have been suggested to help close the $304 million dollar budget shortfall for the district.

State looks for Philly funding solution with other people's money
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 22 2013
Weeks of frantic lobbying have moved Gov. Corbett and some key legislators to recognize that the Philadelphia School District has a real problem, and that they have some responsibility to be part of the solution.  But in seeking to craft a deal that would allow the District to avoid implementing its “doomsday” budget, Harrisburg doesn’t want to contribute any revenue of its own.  None of the proposals currently on the table, either to solve this year’s immediate crisis or provide sustainable levels of aid to Philadelphia in the future, involve an increase in dedicated state money to the city schools, Harrisburg watchers say.
“The state doesn’t want to come up with any money. They think giving [City Council] authorization [to enact more city taxes] is a big step,” said one person with knowledge of the negotiations.
Nor have Republican legislative leaders and the governor shown any desire to grapple with bigger issues of what is fair, adequate and equitable when it comes to education funding around the state, not just for Philadelphia.

More parents join hunger strike for Philly schools
AP Statewire by KATHY MATHESON June 21, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A hunger strike to protest layoffs in the Philadelphia school district extended to a fifth day on Friday, when two more parents joined the fast and a gubernatorial candidate pledged to do the same.
Four parents and two district employees are now participating in the "Fast for Safe Schools," drinking only water until the city and state supply enough funding to rehire 1,200 lunchtime aides.
The aides are among more than 3,800 school workers who will lose their jobs next month because of the district's $304 million deficit. The layoffs, which comprise about 20 percent of the city's total school staff, include assistant principals, teachers, counselors and secretaries.

Every Philadelphian has a role to play in school funding
WHYY Newsworks Opinion By Janet Pinkerton June 21, 2013
 “Do you want to stay in this city you have come to love? Or will you, once you have children, realize with quiet horror and resignation that you have to move out of Philadelphia if your offspring are to have a decent education?”
The following is a work of opinion submitted by the author.
Oh, Philadelphia! Why are you so quietly letting your schools go down? Why are you letting the education of 200,000 students — pre-K to grade 12, including charters — slide into the toilet?

“After the loss of federal stimulus funds, Corbett cut education funding by nearly $1 billion in 2011, sparking a statewide funding crisis across school districts. The loss of federal money to corrections and medical assistance was replaced by state funding, but education dollars were not.”
Teachers' union ad rips Corbett for building prison amid schools crisis
thenotebook by Sonia Giebel on Jun 21 2013 Posted in Latest news
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers has been airing a radio ad criticizing Gov. Corbett and his fellow politicians for building a $400 million prison – complete with air-conditioned cells, classrooms, and a librarian – at a time when Philadelphia's schools are being cut to the bone. 
“What are their priorities?" the ad asks. "Building classrooms in prisons while turning our schools into holding pens?”  Facing a $304 million budget gap, more than 3,800 District employees -- including teachers, librarians, counselors, noontime aides, and central-office staff -- were laid off in the wake of the District’s austerity measures. The District will also close 24 schools this year.

While we scrounge around for funding for constitutionally mandated public education, in Pennsylvania $150 million in diverted tax dollars are being funneled to unaccountable private and religious schools via our EITC program; legislation is pending to increase that by $50 million.
“The law attempted to skirt this constitutional restriction by laundering the money through third-party ‘scholarship organizations.’ But the court wisely saw through this charade. It ruled that no matter how you cut it, tax dollars that would have been used to fund normal government operations were being used to support religious schools.
EITC: The ‘neovoucher strategy’ (and why it didn’t work in New Hampshire)
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss, Published: June 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm
“Neovouchers” is the term that Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, has given to private school tax credit programs. Earlier this week, a judge in New Hampshire ruled that the part of tax-credit program that allows public money to be used for religious school education violates the state constitution. Here’s a piece by Welner on what happened in New Hampshire that has ramifications beyond that state’s borders.

“Community schools give students who live in poverty advantages enjoyed by their wealthier and higher-performing peers. The federal Equity and Excellence Commission lists such advantages as health care (mental, dental, and vision services), expanded learning experiences, and family supports to help motivate students and prepare them to learn.”
COMMENTARY - Community Schools: A Model for the Middle Grades
Education Week Published Online: June 21, 2013
By Josefina Alvarado-Mena, Chris Brown, Nicole Johnson, & Frank Mirabal
Premium article access courtesy of
Expanding the number of community schools is no longer a goal that can be left on the periphery of school reform. No academic standards, tests, or school-based interventions will ever be able to completely mitigate the economic, family, medical, and emotional needs that interfere with a student’s learning.  In January, a Harvard Family Research Project report on community schools cited research crediting them with improved student learning, attendance, behavior, and development, as well as increased family engagement in their children’s learning.

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.

Next week is the deadline to submit proposals for PSBA’s 2014 Legislative Platform
There is one week remaining to submit proposals for consideration for PSBA’s 2014 Legislative Platform.The deadline to submit proposals is Friday, June 28.  Guidelines for platform submissions and submission forms are posted on PSBA’s Web site. Boards may submit new proposals as well as revisions to the current platform and should include a brief statement (about 50 words) of rationale for each proposal submitted.  The rationale should include a summary of the reasons why your board believes this issue should be addressed in the platform, any specific problems your district has encountered, and how your board believes the problem could be resolved.  In addition, your board is encouraged to submit any data related to the issue as it affects your district, or any draft language that could be crafted into proposed legislation. This information will be shared with the PSBA Platform Committee. All submissions should be directed to PSBA’s Office of Governmental and Member Relations. All items submitted must be verified by the board secretary. The PSBA Platform Committee under the direction of Chairman Mark B. Miller will review proposals and rationale submitted for the platform on Aug. 10. 
The items recommended by the Platform Committee will be presented to the new PSBA Delegate Assembly for final determination by the voting delegates present. Next week, PSBA will be mailing to all school board secretaries a memo and response form for the appointment of their voting delegates to the Delegate Assembly. Selection of voting delegates for the Delegate Assembly meeting is the same as it was for the Legislative Policy Council.  Each PSBA member entity has the opportunity to participate in the meeting the debate and vote on all of the agenda items.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge & Convention Center
The PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference is the largest gathering of elected officials in Pennsylvania and offers an impressive collection of professional development opportunities for school board members and other education leaders.
See Annual School Leadership Conference links for all program details.

PAESSP State Conference October 27-29, 2013
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
The state conference is PAESSP’s premier professional development event for principals, assistant principals and other educational leaders. Attending will enable you to connect with fellow educators while learning from speakers and presenters who are respected experts in educational leadership.
 Featuring Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson & David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).

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

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

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

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