Wednesday, March 4, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup March 4: Budget Coverage and Reactions

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3525 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, Superintendents, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business 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, Twitter and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for March 4, 2015:
Budget Coverage and Reactions

The next PA Basic Education  Funding Commission Public Hearing will be on Thursday, March 12th at 10:00 am in Hearing Room 1, North Office Building, Harrisburg

In case you missed this ...
As Philadelphia's Superintendent of Schools, I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong.
Baltimore Sun Opinion by David Hornbeck February 27, 2015

Wolf seeks billions in higher taxes for schools, tax revamp
West Chester Daily Local By MARC LEVY and PETER JACKSON, The Associated Press 03/03/15, 9:43 PM EST |
HARRISBURG >> In an ambitious first budget plan, Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday proposed more than $4 billion in higher state taxes on income, sales and natural gas drilling to support a huge injection of money into schools and property tax cuts as part of an overhaul of the way public education is funded.  Wolf, a Democrat, is also asking a wary Republican-controlled Legislature to cut corporate taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, borrow more than $4 billion to refinance pension debt and inject new money into business loans, clean energy subsidies and water and sewer system projects.  All told, new aid for education, plus money to reduce school property taxes, would amount to more than $4 billion.

Summary of Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget  FY 2015-16
EPLC Education Notebook Wednesday, March 3, 2015 SPECIAL EDITION
Governor Wolf today delivered a message to the General Assembly and all Pennsylvanians that offered a state budget for 2015-2016 and a bold vision for the future of Pennsylvania.  His message highlighted education as "the heart of everything we want to achieve." 
Here are education-related highlights from Governor Wolf's proposal:

Read the full text of Gov. Tom Wolf's budget address
By Wallace McKelvey | Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 03, 2015 at 12:48 PM, updated March 03, 2015 at 1:22 PM
Here is the complete text of Gov. Tom Wolf's budget address, as prepared:

Gov. Tom Wolf's first budget: Everything you need to know (mostly) at-a-glance
By Nick Malawskey |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 03, 2015 at 11:52 AM, updated March 03, 2015 at 3:40 PM
The state budget is a massive, dense document of numbers, line items and appropriations. To try and make it easy, we've combed through Gov. Tom Wolf's first budget to try and pull out key facts and figures.  Among key provisions are the calls from the governor to increase the state's sales tax, personal income tax as well as the Marcellus Shale extraction tax to off-set local property taxes used to fund public schools in Pennsylvania.  The following series of graphics show the breakdown of Gov. Tom Wolf's first budget, as well as general budget funding by prior administrations and funding for key state departments over time.

Wolf budget: What it could mean for your school district
By Nick Malawskey | Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 03, 2015 at 2:23 PM, updated March 03, 2015 at 9:59 PM
Gov. Tom Wolf's inaugural budget calls for sweeping change to Pennsylvania's tax structure and, subsequently, the way local public schools are funded.  Most school districts will see huge funding increases if Wolf's budget is ultimately approved by the state legislature this summer. To see how much your school district could receive in basic education funding (and does currently) we put together the following chart. You can search by district, county, or sort entries.

Gov. Tom Wolf budget: His plan for K-12 education
Lancaster Online By KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 1:27 pm | Updated: 4:00 pm, Tue Mar 3, 2015.
A strong education system is at the core of creating a state that can "attract new businesses, retain talent, and grow the middle class," according to Gov. Tom Wolf.  Having that kind of education system starts with resources, he said in his first budget address Tuesday. "Schools that teach" were one of three key pillars in his speech. Here's what you need to know about his proposals for public education.

Dissecting Wolf's $33 billion plan for Pennsylvania
WHYY Newsworks Staff MARCH 3, 2015
Gov. Tom Wolf's first budget address put on an emphasis on his vision for improving Pennsylvania's present and its future.  He is calling for a bevy of tax increases in an effort to generate additional funding for education, property tax relief, and economic development programs in a more than $33 billion state budget proposal.  Reporters Mary Wilson, Kevin McCorry, Marie Cusick and Emily Previti were at the state Capitol Tuesday for the governor's address, and they take a look at some of the specifics in the spending plan.

'Innovative and bold' or an 'attack' on charters? Reactions to Wolf budget plan
the notebook By Allison Welton on Mar 3, 2015 05:05 PM
Was it an “innovative and bold” step forward or a bloody “attack” on charter schools? After Gov. Wolf’s budget address, some groups immediately turned up the heat on legislators to “put our money where their mouths are,” while others took a breath and celebrated a “solid first step” toward universal pre-K.  Here’s our round-up of reactions from the education world to the governor’s proposals.

School officials pleased by Wolf budget proposal
KATHY BOCCELLA, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 2:36 PM
Gov. Wolf's proposal Tuesday for a historic increase in state education spending was received like a Christmas bonus in March by school officials in the region, and they said they were especially pleased about what it might mean for property owners - lower taxes.  Some said the governor's proposal to boost state education aid for every district, and by more than $500 million, could spare them painful decisions to increase local taxes to pay for rising worker pensions and other fixed costs.  In recent years, almost every district has raised real estate taxes, which constitute the bulk of local tax bills.

How would Gov. Wolf's property tax reform plan cut your school tax bill?
By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times Email the author | Follow on Twitter on March 03, 2015 at 7:15 PM, updated March 03, 2015 at 7:31 PM
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $3.8 billion property-tax relief initiative in his Tuesday budget address.
He's proposing a 5 percent natural gas extraction tax and major hikes to the personal income and sales tax to fund his spending plan.  The total tax burden on average middle-class homeowners would drop by 13 percent under his plan, Wolf said.  Wolf 's $3.8 billion property-tax initiative, including $600 million in casino gambling revenue, would reduce homeowner and farmstead property taxes more than 50 percent in the 2016-17 school year. Another $426 million would go toward new $500 rebates for renters with incomes up to $50,000.
Communities with higher tax and poverty rates would receive proportionately more relief.

'Time for bold change,' Wolf says in outlining $30B state budget
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 12:30 p.m.
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday proposed a more than $30 billion state budget built on a wide-ranging tax restructuring plan that could, if enacted, become the largest tax hike in Pennsylvania history but significantly cut the school property tax.  “It's time for bold change,” Wolf said of his plan to eliminate a $2.3 billion deficit by increasing the personal income tax, sales tax, natural gas extraction tax and the tax on tobacco products. His spending plan emphasizes putting money into education.  Skeptical Republicans, who control the General Assembly, said they would evaluate his proposals for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1.  “This budget proposal calls for historic spending, an increase of 16 percent over this fiscal year, with the potential to be the largest tax increase in commonwealth history,” said House Majority Leader David Reed of Indiana County.
JOINT STATEMENT: General Assembly must support budget with adequate school funding
As state legislators consider Governor Tom Wolf’s 2015-16 budget proposal, citizens of the Commonwealth are watching to see if their elected officials will support a quality education for children in every community. Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations, representing all 500 school districts, today called on the General Assembly to approve Governor Wolf’s budget request and adopt a new state funding formula that will ensure equity and adequate funding for all schools beginning next school year

PSBA encouraged by public education investments in Gov. Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 budget
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is encouraged by the investments in public education Gov. Tom Wolf has outlined in his proposed 2015-16 state budget. Much work needs done to ensure that critical education funding remains a part of the final budget, and PSBA stands ready and willing to work with members of both parties in developing a budget that ensures the future strength of the state’s public schools.

Survey points to more cuts in Pa. school districts [updated]
School districts across Pennsylvania say they're struggling to do more with less, according to a recent survey that looks at school budgets.  It shows most of the state's school districts are looking at more tax increases as well as cuts to programs and staff cuts to keep up with costs for mandates services.  About 64 percent -- or 321 -- of the state's 500 school districts participated in the annual survey, commissioned jointly by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Association of School Budget Officials.  The survey revealed that nearly all of the districts raised property taxes at least once over the past five years, and 60 percent raised taxes every one of those years.

PA House Ed Committee Chairman Smucker Responds to Governor’s Budget Address
Senator Smucker's website March 3, 2015
HARRISBURG — Sen. Lloyd Smucker, (R-Lancaster) Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015-2016 budget address:  “As a reflection of priorities, the budget’s focus on education is commendable.  As the Governor stated, every child in Pennsylvania deserves the opportunity for a world-class education.  “It is instructive to remember that Pennsylvania spends more than most states on education, ranking sixth in total dollars spent (U.S. Census Bureau), and 12th in per-pupil spending (National Education Association).  Pennsylvania schools spend an average of $14,761 for a student in grades kindergarten through 12.  At the same time, spending per student by school district varies widely, from a low of $10,134 to a high of $28,298 (Pennsylvania

PSBA Members Only: Annual Pennsylvania Education Budget Briefing
MAR 4, 2015 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Join us for a special complimentary members-only Annual Pennsylvania Education Budget Briefing webinar, Wednesday, March 4 at noon.  The webinar features Acting Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and PSBA Senior Director of Government Affairs, John Callahan, who will discuss Gov. Wolf’s 2015-16 proposed budget. You will have the option to attend live at PSBA’s Headquarters in Mechanicsburg or join us online through your computer. Both options will allow you to ask questions during the webinar.

Lawsuit asks the Court to ensure that all students -- including those living in low-wealth districts -- have the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards.
Meet Us in Court on March 11th
Education Law Center
On Wednesday, March 11th at 9:30 a.m., the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania will hear oral arguments in our school funding lawsuit which challenges the legislature's failure to adequately support and maintain Pennsylvania's public school system. This historic case, which the Education Law Center filed with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and pro bono counsel O'Melveny & Meyers, asks the Court to ensure that all students -- including those living in low-wealth districts -- have the basic resources they need to meet state academic standards. We ask the court to hear this case and enforce the rights of our children to a "thorough and efficient" system of public education as guaranteed to them by our state constitution.
Please come and support us as we fight for vulnerable students and all public school students across the state. The hearing will be held at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center, 601 Commonwealth Avenue, Courtroom 5001 in Harrisburg, PA.  If you plan to attend or have questions, contact Spencer Malloy at (The courtroom is walking distance from the Harrisburg Amtrak Station.) 

2015 Pennsylvania Budget Summit
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg Pennsylvania
PA Budget and Policy Center
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at the Hilton Harrisburg. Join us for an in-depth look at the Governor's 2015-16 budget proposal, including what it means for education, health and human services, and local communities. The Summit will focus on the leading issues facing the commonwealth in 2015, with workshops, lunch, a legislative panel discussion, and a keynote speech.
Space is limited, so fill out the form below to reserve your spot at the Budget Summit.

The State of Public Education Funding in Pennsylvania
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Tuesday, March 17, 2015 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
Join Law Center attorneys for a briefing on the basics of education funding, a recap of the March 11th oral arguments in the school funding lawsuit, information on the new administration’s budget proposal and more.  There are limited spots available for this free event. 1.5 CLE credits will be offered to participating attorneys.

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Lancaster County Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 pm at Millersville University

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in York: Wednesday, March 25th, 6:30pm to 8pm at the York Learning Center, 300 E. 7th Avenue, York.
More info/registration:

Education Voters of PA will hold a forum about public school funding in Cumberland County: Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 pm at the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center, 340 North 21st Street, Camp Hill.
More info/registration:

PSBA 2015 Advocacy Forum
APR 19, 2015 • 8:00 AM - APR 20, 2015 • 5:00 PM
Join PSBA for the second annual Advocacy Forum on April 19-20, 2015. Hear from legislative experts on hot topics and issues regarding public education on Sunday, April 19, at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg. The next day you and fellow advocates will meet with legislators at the state capitol. This is your chance to learn how to successfully advocate on behalf of public education and make your voice heard on the Hill.

Sign-up for weekly email updates from the Campaign
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding website

PA Basic Education Funding Commission website

Thorough and Efficient: Pennsylvania Education Funding Lawsuit website
Arguing that our state has failed to ensure that essential resources are available for all of our public school students to meet state academic standards.

Sign up for National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Network
Friends of Public Education

Register Now! EPLC 2015 Regional Workshops for School Board Candidates and Others
The Education Policy and Leadership Center, with the Cooperation of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), will conduct A Series of Regional Full-Day Workshops for 2015 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.  Incumbents, non-incumbents, campaign supporters and all interested voters are invited to participate in these workshops.
Harrisburg Region Saturday, March 7, 2015– 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Pennsylvania School Boards Association Headquarters, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Philadelphia Region Saturday, March 14, 2015 – 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, 2 W. Lafayette Street, Norristown, PA 19401

NPE 2015 Annual Conference – Chicago April 24 - 26 – Early Bird Special Registration Open!
Early-bird discounted Registration for the Network for Public Education’s Second Annual Conference is now available at this address:

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