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.
PA Ed Policy Roundup for August 12, 2014: House majority leader Turzai, Hite discuss Phila. cigarette tax
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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.”
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
"We're still moving towards Friday
as a [day] on which we decide what to do about the beginning of school,"
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
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 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
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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
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,
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.
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.
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:
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.