Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 30, 2013: Ongoing Budget Coverage; PA House and Senate back in session Sunday at 11:00 am

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Keystone State Education Coalition:
Pennsylvania Education Policy Roundup for June 30, 2013:
Ongoing Budget Coverage; PA House and Senate back in session Sunday at 11:00 am

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

Pennsylvania Budget: Saturday analysis from John Micek
Video runtime :00:53
PennLive Opinion editor John Micek talks about the Pennsylvania budget.
By Dan Gleiter | 
on June 29, 2013 at 6:01 PM, updated June 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM
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? 

Lawmakers risk missing state budget deadline
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.
Pa. Senate Advances $28.375 Billion Budget
PA Budget and Policy Center June 29, 2013
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 school districts.
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 $254.5 million. 
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.

Live Updates: Pennsylvania's 2013-14 Budget
PA Budget and Policy Center June 29, 2013

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.

EPLC Education Notebook – Friday, June 28, 2013
Education Policy and Leadership Center

GOP accuses Democrats of holding transportation funding plan hostage
By Jan Murphy |  on June 29, 2013 at 11:12 PM, updated June 30, 2013 at 12:33 AM
House Republicans are accusing their Democratic colleagues of holding a transportation funding hostage and refusing to negotiate the terms for its release.
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.

Corbett agenda down to discarded House Democrats: column
By Robert J. Vickers |  on June 29, 2013 at 7:12 PM, updated June 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM
For nearly three years Pennsylvania Democrats have not had the governor's office, the state House, or the Senate.
Politically impotent, they've been forced to watch from the peanut gallery as GOP lawmakers captained the commonwealth in directions liberals and progressives often found repugnant.
But Saturday, with Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's budget and 'big three' agenda items hurtling toward the midnight Sunday deadline,House Democrats looked to have Corbett's whole world in their hands.

Senate Appropriations Committee moves a $28.4 billion budget bill to Senate for a vote
By Jan Murphy | on June 29, 2013 at 8:28 PM, updated June 30, 2013 at 12:59 AM
As the midnight 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 2013-14.Jan Murphy/PennLive
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 districts.

Philly 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.

Down to 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.

With hours before budget deadline, Pa. needs to get serious about closing tax loopholes: As I See It
Patriot-News Op-Ed  By Sharon Ward June 28, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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.

Defined-benefit plans should be fixed,not dumped
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.
Letter 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?”

Some 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 Policy Center 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 on September 17 at 7:30 pm.  Details to come.

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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