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 30, 2013: Ongoing Budget Coverage; PA House and Senate back in session Sunday at 11:00 am
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.
While the Pennsylvania budget deadline
is hours away, lawmakers continue to discuss the big topics of late: liquor
privatization, transportation, pension reform and Medicaid expansion. But what
about the spending plan itself?
Governor optimistic after some progress on liquor
privatization but much remains unresolved.
By Megan Rogers and Steve
Esack, Call Harrisburg
Bureau 11:58 p.m. EDT, June 29, 2013
HARRISBURG — Progress on transportation funding — and potentially the
entire budget process — came to a screeching halt Saturday, leaving Republicans and Democrats pointing fingers.
House Republican leaders did not have enough support within their caucus
to pass a $1.9 billion transportation bill, one of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's key budget initiatives. The House was
expected to debate transportation Saturday night, but abruptly recessed shortly
after 8 p.m. without discussion. As a
result, the Legislature is planning to be in session Monday — and possibly
Tuesday — to finish a budget bill and attempt to eke out some sort of policy
victory for Corbett.
The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a 2013-14
state budget (amended into HB 1437) that spends $28.375 billion, roughly $645
million (or 2.3%) more than in the current fiscal year.
…The basic education subsidy will increase by 2% to $5.526 billion. It
is unclear how the additional funds will be distributed across the state’s 500
Funding for Accountability Block Grants (providing support for
pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten programs, class size reduction, and
tutoring) remains flat at $100 million, still well below the 2010-11 levels of
Special education remains flat at $1.027 billion, although a commission
to review the special education formula has been established and is expected to
issue a report late in the fall.
Funding for Pre-K Counts is increased by $5 million (6%) from 2012-13 to
$87.3 million, and the Head Start Supplemental gets a $2 million (5.4%)
increase to $39.2 million – consistent with the Governor’s proposal.
PA Independent Budget Live Blog:
Lawmakers plan session days for Monday, maybe Tuesday
By Melissa Daniels, Eric Boehm | PA Independent June 29, 2013
HARRISBURG – It looks like
this year’s budget session may take an extra day or two.
The state House announced plans Saturday evening to hold session on
Monday and possibly Tuesday. The
Senate doesn’t have plans to do that, yet. But Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said it is
possible the high-profile transportation funding and liquor privatization bills
will get resolved at a later date.
House Republicans are accusing their Democratic colleagues of holding a
transportation funding hostage and refusing to negotiate the terms for its
The House Republican leadership adjourned abruptly on Saturday night,
hoping that the break might buy the time needed to prod the Democrats to share
what their demands were in exchange for providing the votes needed to pass a
bill out of the chamber.
Sunday deadline approaches for getting a state budget done on-time, the Senate Appropriations
Committee took the first step toward meeting that deadline.
It voted 16-10 along party lines to approve a nearly $28.4 billion
spending plan that has been agreed to by Gov. Tom Corbett and GOP legislative
leaders. It now is in a position to be voted by the full Senate on Sunday
morning and then would go to the House for consideration.
View full sizeThe Senate Appropriations Committee voted
16-10 along party lines to approve a nearly $28.4 billion spending plan for
The spending plan that represents a 2.3 percent increase over this
year’s $27.8 billion budget.
It provides $100 million increase in basic education funding for school
districts and $22.5 million for financially distressed and fast-growing
schools getting far less than requested as Pa. Senate advances budget
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein June 29, 2013
The Pennsylvania Senate has advanced a budget that increases Philadelphia's basic
education funding by $14 million next year, far short of the additional $120
million requested by school district officials.
The GOP-led Senate appropriations committee approved the plan Saturday
night, 16-10. Philadelphia's
education funding was detailed in Senate GOP documents attached to the bill,
which must now be approved by the full Senate and House.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) said that the
budget makes a "significant investment" in schools, including about
$120 million in new basic education funding statewide. "As always, there's areas that we would
like to have probably made stronger investments in," Corman said.
"But we can only spend what we have."
Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) said that the budget is inadequate.
the wire on schools funding, nonprofit pushes a labor proposal
WHYY Newsworks By Holly Otterbein, @hollyotterbein June 29, 2013
As the state legislature approaches a critical deadline with little
progress toward a funding solution for Philadelphia
schools, a local nonprofit is shopping legislation linking any extra state
funding to work-rules changes for public school teachers.
The Philadelphia School Partnership has been urging lawmakers for weeks
to impose three conditions on additional state funding for the school district,
which faces a $304 million budget gap next year.
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.
BY DAVID CRANE Bloomberg News Published: June 29, 2013
Some hedge-fund managers recently came under pressure from the American
Federation of Teachers to quit the boards of certain organizations, such as
Students First and the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, that favor the
elimination of public-sector defined-benefit pension plans. Those organizations should reconsider their
view. Defined-benefit plans aren't to blame for the crushing costs of pension
liabilities in the U.S.
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 or Nevada
where the income is not taxed.
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.