Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 29, 2013: “With hours before budget deadline, Pa. needs to get serious about closing tax loopholes”
Daily postings from the Keystone State Education
Coalition now reach more than 1900 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school
directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers,
PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, education professors,
members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies,
professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails,
website, Facebook and Twitter.
A decade ago, Pennsylvania’s Business Tax Reform Commission laid
out a vision to bring greater fairness to the state’s tax structure and to make
it more competitive in the 21st century. The plan included new business tax
breaks but was balanced with measures to close tax loopholes that companies use
to avoid paying Pennsylvania
taxes. New revenue from closing those loopholes would pay for tax reductions
without impacting other services, such as universities and public schools, that
are also vital to the state’s economic success.
Since then, many of the business tax breaks have become law, but
policymakers have taken no action to close tax loopholes. The cost of business
tax cuts has mounted to close to $3 billion annually and is one big reason why
the state is now facing an education funding crisis.
As the clock ticks toward a new state budget, lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett have turned
their attention once again to closing loopholes. This is welcome news. If done
right, it will help balance the scales after a decade of significant business
tax cuts – recovering hundreds of millions of dollars that can be invested in
neighborhood schools and health services.
Unfortunately, lawmakers are under heavy pressure from the business
community to water the plan down, and that could mean Pennsylvania ends up with a law that
protects loopholes, rather than closing them.
“Facing a $304 million shortfall July 1, the district has laid off
several art teachers and all 76 itinerant music teachers who work with orchestras
and ensembles at several schools. Their loss will end several music groups,
including the All-CityHigh School Orchestra.”
The Real Consequences of School
Reform: As Phila. schools make arts cuts, two luminaries retire
Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer POSTED: Saturday, June 29, 2013,
As the PhiladelphiaSchool District braces
for massive cuts to art and music education, two women who were considered the
heart and soul of those programs made a bittersweet exit Friday. Virginia Lam,
the district's music specialist, who has overseen the annual all-city music
festival at the KimmelCenter, is retiring. So
is one of her best friends, Tessie Varthas, the art specialist who coordinated
the citywide competition and exhibition of student artists.
Read more at
Now that the countdown to the
Sunday deadline is being counted in hours, instead of days, it's starting to
become clear that Gov. Tom Corbett will not be going four-for-four on his
wishlist of big-ticket items. But what his final tally on achievements still be
remained in question late Friday evening.
Senate panel OKs liquor privatization in session that goes until 1:38 a.m.
The vote moves Pennsylvania
a step closer to ending Prohibition-era liquor store system, part of Gov. Tom
Corbett's 2013-14 budget plan.
By Meg Rogers and Steve
Esack, Call Harrisburg
Bureau 3:43 a.m. EDT, June 29, 2013
The state Senate pulled an all-nighter as Republicans and Democrats haggled over a
liquor privatization deal Gov. Tom Corbett covets. At 1:17 a.m. Saturday the 27-member
Republican majority won and the 23 Democrats lost. At that time, which was more than two hours
past the Senate's self-imposed 11 p.m. curfew to wrap up legislative work, all
Republicans supported an amendment to a bill that could end the state's 80-year
monopoly on wine and spirits sales.
Delaying the phaseout of the capital stock and franchise tax cut could
raise $360 million.
to the Editor: Time running out to delay Capital Stock and Franchise tax cut
damaging to schools
Delco Times LTE by Lawrence
A. Feinberg Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Time is running out for students across Pennsylvania. Less than two weeks remain for
state lawmakers to begin to undo the damage they have done with deep funding
cuts to schools. A House budget plan leaves nearly 85 percent of those cuts in
place, doing little to hire back nurses and counselors or to restore music,
arts and sports programs that districts have been forced to cut. Senate leaders and Gov. Corbett’s
administration have signaled a willingness to delay a business tax cut next
year. That is welcome news. Keeping the tax rate at 2012 levels could raise
$360 million to restore some of the deepest school cuts. In response to
critics, Sen. Jake Corman, R-34, asks: “Is that (tax) phaseout more important
than education dollars?”
estimates say the Delaware loophole causes Pennsylvania to lose as
much $450 million a year in tax receipts.
Pa. Shouldn't Miss an Opportunity
to Close Loopholes
PA Budget and PolicyCenter June 27,2013
In the coming days, the Pennsylvania Legislature will be hammering out a
deal to balance the 2013-14 state budget. One piece of the package will be a
budget-related tax plan that may include a provision designed to close
corporate tax loopholes. Specifically,
lawmakers are discussing the creation of a so-called "addback"
rule. Such rules require corporations to add back interest and
intangible expenses (such as for copyrights and patents) paid to
related companies — often affiliates in Delaware
where the income is not taxed.
A group of House Republican lawmakers plan to introduce a five-bill
package aimed at halting implementation of the Pennsylvania Common Core academic
standards once and for all.
At a Capitol news conference on Friday morning, the lawmakers maintained
that the Common Core movement that originated with national organizations of
unelected bureaucrats that want to standardize education across states is not
the path to raising student achievement in Pennsylvania. “For me, one of the biggest concerns about
the Common Core standards is that there is no empirical academic or
scientifically conducted peer-review studies to show that the Common Core
standards will actually raise U.S. student performance,” said Rep. Stephen
Bloom, R-North Middleton Twp., who sponsored one of the bills.
Pottstown Mercury Opinion by
Ronald Williams June
On becoming a school board director, I vowed to do all I could to ensure
that our children get the best quality education possible, a mission shared by
my fellow school board members. This has become increasingly difficult to
fulfill after two years of state funding cuts.
Cuts in funding for Pottstown schools
have forced us to let good teachers go and eliminate all but mandated teacher’s
aides. Administrative positions are at bare bones and we are maneuvering
through the intricacies of attempting to maintain programs that are vital to a
healthy learning environment. Music, arts and athletics have been spared so
Right now our lawmakers are on track to approve a budget that does
little to restore damaging education cuts or help school districts address the
higher costs we expect next year. One way to provide relief to local taxpayers
is to stop giving businesses new tax breaks.
Wilkinsburg school boards budget cuts teachers and staff
By Alex Zimmerman / Pittsburgh
The Wilkinsburg school board voted
Friday night to approve a $28 million budget that eliminates nearly 10 faculty
positions and at least three administrators.
Business manager Philip Martell said four to five of the teacher
reductions will likely occur through attrition without requiring layoffs.
PhillyBurbs.com By STATE REP. MIKE STURLA
Posted: Friday, June
As the school year ends and students hit the road for summer vacation, I
think it is fair to say if Pennsylvanians — students, parents, educators and
taxpayers — were able to grade Gov. Tom Corbett on his education policies,
they’d give him an F.
For the third year, the Republican-backed state budget proposal axes
education funding across the board. Early childhood programs, higher learning
and career schools, science-based curriculum, improvements to aging school
buildings — nothing is safe in the GOP’s spending plan. The chronic underfunding our schools have
endured during the Corbett administration have already had huge impacts on
students, their families, property taxpayers and educators, resulting in nearly
20,000 layoffs, larger class sizes and fewer course offerings.
Pennsylvania Political round-up with John Baer
and John Micek
June 28, 2013
WHYY RADIO TIMES WITH MARTY MOSS-COANE; GUESTS: JOHN BAER
& JOHN MICEK
The $28.4 billion Pennsylvania
state general fund budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year is due by Sunday, June 30th,
and is supposed to start Monday, July 1st.There are
many items to consider including three transportation funding plans, a liquor
privatization overhaul, property-tax reform, public education funding, pension
reform, and a plan for the state to respond to the national Affordable
Healthcare Act regarding its Medicaid coverage strategy. Also, will Governor
Corbett be running for a second term in 2014? The governor, who continues to
score low public opinion ratings, has been reported scheduling 29 campaign
meeting in the first four months of this calendar year. He has recently noted Pennsylvania’s
unemployment rate has dipped to a (lower) 7.5 percent, and responded to
President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” speech this week with it was "not
only a war on coal … but also a war on jobs." Marty talks to JOHN BAER, columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and JOHN
MICEK, editor of the editorial and opinion pages for The
results show minority students making strong gains, but gaps remain
Boards Association’s Center for Public Education (Alexis Rice|June 28th, 2013
This was republished from the National School Boards
Association’s Center for Public Education (CPE), The EDifier and
written by Jim Hull, CPE’s Senior Policy Analyst.
Minority students have made significant gains over the past four decades
in both math and reading, according to the 2012 long-term NAEP results. While most white students made
significant gains as well, achievement gaps narrowed considerably since
minority students made much larger gains than their white peers. However, large
achievement gaps still remain.
Save the Date:
Diane Ravitch will be speaking at the Main Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library onSeptember 17 at . Details to come.
PASA-PSBASchool Leadership Conference
October 15-18, 2013 | Hershey Lodge
& Convention Center
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.
The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
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.
Keynote Speakers: Charlotte Danielson, Dr. Todd Whitaker, Will Richardson &
David Andrews, Esq. (Legal Update).
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.
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.