Tuesday, August 12, 2014

PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 12, 2014: House majority leader Turzai, Hite discuss Phila. cigarette tax

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PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 12, 2014:
House majority leader Turzai, Hite discuss Phila. cigarette tax



“Many state and local retirement plans are on an unsustainable course, having failed to set aside enough money to fund the promises they have made.  To inform state policymaking, Pew provides research on the fiscal challenges state and cities face as a result of their pension and retiree health promises.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts



House majority leader, Hite discuss Phila. cigarette tax
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 1:08 AM POSTED: Monday, August 11, 2014, 10:47 PM
Whether city public schools begin on time is still an open question, even after a "positive" meeting Monday between the superintendent and a top Harrisburg leader.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) traveled to Philadelphia for the closed-door, hour-long talk with Superintendent William R. Hite Jr., which he called "a goodwill mission."
Hite characterized the meeting as "very helpful" but said it did not affect the Philadelphia School District's bottom line - it has an $81 million deficit, and badly needs the money that would come from a $2-per-pack cigarette tax that lawmakers were supposed to have voted on last week.

"We're still moving towards Friday as a [day] on which we decide what to do about the beginning of school," Hite said.
New assurance, same deadline for Philly schools
SOLOMON LEACH, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER LEACHS@PHILLYNEWS.COM, 215-854-5903 POSTED: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 3:01 AM
PHILADELPHIA Schools Superintendent William Hite got another promise yesterday that state lawmakers would continue to push for cigarette-tax approval to help fund the district, but he said a Friday deadline to decide whether to shorten the school year or make massive layoffs still looms.  Hite met privately with state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai at the district's headquarters for about an hour yesterday afternoon. After the meeting, Hite said Turzai assured him that the House would work to pass "a clean bill," but that it did not change the district's grim reality - an $81 million shortfall.

Deleting all government emails violates Pa. policy
Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 12, 2014 12:01 AM
Earlier this month, acting state Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq cited a department practice of purging emails each evening as the reason her department released only five emails for Ron Tomalis, the governor’s special adviser on higher education, during his first year in the position.  “There’s no email trail for a lot of folks. I couldn’t possibly store all of my email; we delete and cleanse each evening, so that’s why there’s no emails,” Ms. Dumaresq told Harrisburg television station WHTM.  Turns out the practice of purging all emails each night violates the department’s policy on record retention, a policy based on state record retention laws.

Bethlehem Area blocking second location for Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School
Bethlehem Area won't OK middle school location until legal process is complete.
By Adam Clark, Of The Morning Call 11:44 p.m. EDT, August 11, 2014
Bethlehem Area School District won't allow the Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School to move 150 students to a second location until it finishes its legal battle with the charter school.
The school board took no action Monday on the Dual Language school's request to open a separate middle school campus beginning with the start of school on Aug. 25. That means students in sixth through eighth grades must stay on the same campus as kindergarten through fifth grade, 515 Thomas St.  Last month, Commonwealth Court ruled in a 2-1 decision that charter schools can open more than one school by amending the charters they hold with a local school board. The decision overturned rulings by the Bethlehem Area School Board and the state Department of Education's Charter Appeal Board.
Newest Allentown charter school already clashing with district
By Colin McEvoy | The Express-Times on August 11, 2014 at 4:29 PM, updated August 11, 2014 at 4:53 PM
Allentown's newest charter school hasn't even opened yet, and they've already had their first disagreement with the Allentown School District.  The Executive Education Academy Charter School opens this fall, and their charter allows for students from kindergarten to second grades and grades five to eight in the first year.  But when reviewing a preliminary list of students, district officials found they planned to enroll about 140 students from third and fourth grades, according to Allentown School District Chief Financial Officer Jack Clark.

Both sides say teachers strike increasingly possible in Saucon Valley
Educators to decide Aug. 21 whether they will walk out.
By Jacqueline Palochko, Of The Morning Call 11:47 p.m. EDT, August 11, 2014
A teachers strike in the Saucon Valley School District is looking more likely.
The teachers union and the district met Monday afternoon to talk about a contract. District solicitor Jeffrey Sultanik and teachers union attorney Andrew Muir said the session did not go well.  Muir said teachers will attend Tuesday night's school board meeting to urge the board to approve the union's three-year contract proposal.  If the board does not approve the proposal, it's very likely teachers could strike, Muir said. He said teachers will meet Aug. 21, just days before the start of the school year, to discuss hitting the picket lines.
The board has already rejected the union's proposal, Sultanik said, and won't change its mind.
"We don't plan to take a vote on this," he said. "It's a wasted effort."  Teachers, who went on strike in 2005, 2008 and 2009, have been without a contract for more than two years.
Cornell School District shows willingness to talk merger with Moon
By Amy McConnell Schaarsmith/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette August 11, 2014 11:22 PM
Despite some misgivings on the part of Cornell School District officials and some parents, merger talks with Moon Area School District appear headed forward.
Cornell school board President Jeffrey McBain told fellow board members and about 50 parents and other local residents gathered in the school library Monday evening that he is open to merger discussions and he neither supports nor opposes a merger at the moment.
“I do believe we need to move ahead, but cautiously,” Mr. McBain said. “We have limited resources, both administratively and financially, to be invested in meetings and studies — I want the best for the entire district, which includes students, faculty, staff and taxpayers.”

Ky. school district drops federal lunch program
Jessica Brown, The Cincinnati Enquirer3:59 p.m. EDT August 10, 2014
FORT THOMAS, Ky. — Lunch at Fort Thomas Independent Schools may include more French fries, fewer vegetables and larger portions this year. One thing that won't be on the menu: federal dollars.  The Campbell County, Ky., district is opting out of the federal school lunch program, forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding.
The reason: Kids didn't like their healthful lunches.
"The calorie limitations and types of foods that have to be provided ... have resulted in the kids just saying 'I'm not going to eat that,' " said Fort Thomas Superintendent Gene Kirchner.
The 2,800-student district joins a small but growing number of school districts across the country — mostly wealthy districts that can afford to forfeit the money — that have dropped out of the federal program in the wake of stricter nutritional standards.

As students go back to school, schools prepare for unaccompanied immigrant children
NSBA School Board News Today Alexis Rice August 11th, 2014
This is posting appeared in the National School Boards Association’s Legal Clips. Since this posting came out, NSBA has also been featured on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and on NBC-owned local affiliates:
As reported in the USA Today, the arrival of 50,000 unaccompanied immigrant children since last fall is creating uncertainty among some school districts. “We haven’t started school yet, so we are all just holding our breaths to see what’s going to come on the first day of school,” said Caroline Woodason, assistant director of school support for Dalton Public Schools in Georgia. Georgia received more than 1,100 unaccompanied minors this year, as of July 7, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Under federal law, all children are entitled to a free public education, regardless of their immigration status.


TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE AUGUST CONGRESSIONAL RECESS: BACKGROUND & TALKING POINTS
National School Boards Action Center August 06, 2014 by Staff
Members of Congress return to their hometowns to meet with constituents locally and on September 8 they return to Washington, D.C.  As a public education advocate, you can help to influence their decisions and votes on legislation affecting your local public schools by reaching out to your members of Congress.  They will be especially interested in your concerns as this is an election year for the entire U.S. House of Representatives and one third of the Senate.
Read the latest on federal education issues on Capitol Hill  in the NSBAC August Congressional Recess Talking Points and then contact  your members of Congress during the August recess.  You can call your members’ offices using the Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 or use the National School Boards Association’s legislative action center at nsba.org/advocacy.  Consider becoming a Friend of Public Education to connect with National School Boards Action Center’s advocacy efforts and stay active year round.

Save the Date 2014 PAESSP State Conference October 19-21, 2014
Please join us for the 2014 PAESSP State Conference, “PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVENESS: Leading Schools in a New Age of Accountability,” to be held October 19-21 at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Featuring Keynote Speakers: Alan November, Michael Fullan & Dr. Ray Jorgensen
This year’s conference will provided PIL Act 45 hours, numerous workshops, exhibits, multiple resources and an opportunity to network with fellow principals from across the state.

TOWN MEETING ON LOCAL CONTROL OF PHILLY SCHOOLS
THURSDAY, AUGUST 14TH 6:30 P.M. MONUMENTAL BAPTIST CHURCH
4948 LOCUST ST.
Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools Posted on August 4, 2014by wearepcaps
Forty Thousand Philadelphia registered voters signed a petition this Spring to put the question of returning our schools to local control and abolishing the School Reform Commission on the ballot in the form of a non-binding referendum. But before this can happen City Council and the Mayor and have to approve. Come to the town meeting to find out how returning our schools to local control can improve education and how can bring pressure on our elected officials to let the people vote on this important question.

Educational Collaborators Pennsylvania Summit Aug. 13-14
The Educational Collaborators, in partnership with the Wilson School District, is pleased to announce a unique event,  the Pennsylvania Summit featuring Google for Education on August 13th and 14th, 2014!  This summit is an open event primarily focused on Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, Google Earth, YouTube, and many other effective and efficient technology integration solutions to help digitally convert a school district.  These events are organized by members of the Google Apps for Education community.

PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference registration forms now available online
PSBA Website
Make plans today to attend the most talked about education conference of the year. This year's PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference promises to be one of the best with new ideas, innovations, networking opportunities and dynamic speakers. More details are being added every day. Online registration will be available in the next few weeks. If you just can't wait, registration forms are available online now. Other important links are available with more details on:
·         Hotel registration (reservation deadline extended to Sept. 26)
·         Educational Publications Contest (deadline Aug. 6)
·         Student Celebration Showcase (deadline Sept. 19)
·         Poster and Essay Contest (deadline Sept. 19)

Slate of candidates for PSBA offices now available online -- bios/videos now live
PSBA Website August 5, 2014

The slate of candidates for 2015 PSBA officer and at-large representatives is now available online. Photos, bios and videos also have been posted for each candidate. According to recent PSBA Bylaws changes, each member school entity casts one vote per office. Voting will again take place online through a secure, third-party website -- Simply Voting. Voting will openSept. 9 and closes Oct. 6. One person from the school entity (usually the board secretary) is authorized to cast the vote on behalf of the member school entity and each board will need to put on its agenda discussion and voting at one of its meetings in September. Each person authorized to cast the school entity's votes will be receiving an email in the coming weeks to verify the email address and confirm they are the person to cast the vote on behalf of their school entity. 

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