Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup April 15: Increased FY15-16 pension obligations will average $1 million for PA's 500 school districts

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3550 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, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, 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 April 15, 2015:
Increased FY15-16 pension obligations will average $1 million for PA's 500 school districts



More than 3500 PA policymakers now receive our daily Ed Policy Roundup. If you have a colleague who might find value in it please send their name, affiliation and email address.




Lehigh Valley Forum on School Funding April 22, 7:00-8:30 
Penn State Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Center Valley, PA 18034 
The entrance is at the back of the building and parking is available in lots by the school. 
Confirmed panelists include:
Dr. Bill Haberl, superintendent, Pen Argyl Area SD
Dr. Joe Roy, superintendent, Bethlehem Area SD
Mr. Rich Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland SD
Mr. Russ Giordano, school board director, Salisbury Township SD
Dr. Russ Mayo, superintendent, Allentown SD
Ms. Stacy Gober, CFO, Bethlehem Area SD
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator:  Roberta Marcus, School Board Director, Parkland SD
Register HERE to attend the Lehigh Valley education forum.



"On Tuesday, House Republicans unveiled their version of a property-tax reform plan.  The proposal, championed by Stan Saylor (R., York), would also increase income and sales taxes, dedicating the money to reducing property taxes for homeowners and businesses. But it would allocate the money differently, with poorer districts no longer getting priority status."
Wolf, GOP leaders hold first budget meeting
ANGELA COULOUMBIS, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 1:08 AM  Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 8:34 PM
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf met behind closed doors Tuesday with Republicans who control the legislature to jump-start talks on what both sides agree will be a hard-fought deal on a state budget.  In their first talks - after weeks of public promotion and pushback on both sides - Wolf met with Senate and House leaders for about a half-hour in the Capitol. No one offered details of the discussions.  Republicans said they stressed the need to meet the July 1 deadline to pass a budget for the new fiscal year - a nod to Wolf's comments last week that he didn't think a deal would be reached in time.  "It was a good first meeting, where we laid out the process for moving forward," Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said.

"But unlike Wolf's plan that directs some of the new revenue raised to additional funding for education, Saylor's proposal would direct all the new revenue to reducing property taxes dollar for dollar."
House GOP plan to cut property tax rates receives hearing
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 14, 2015 at 12:25 PM, updated April 14, 2015 at 3:20 PM
House Republican property tax reform plan under consideration would attack the 30-year-old problem of rising property taxes by shifting the burden of funding schools off taxing properties and on to income and purchases.  The plan, sponsored by Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Red Lion, would raise the state's 3.07 percent personal income tax to 3.7 percent and increase the state's 6 percent sales tax by 1 percent in order to lower property taxes. It would not alter the items that are currently exempt from the sales tax.  The plan would not eliminate property taxes but would use all $4.9 billion it raises when fully implemented in two years to reduce property taxes.  It differs from Gov. Tom Wolf's property tax plan in several ways. Wolf proposed raising the personal income tax rate to 3.7 percent as well but raised the sales tax rate to 6.6 percent and expanded the base of products and and services subject to the tax. That plan is estimated to raise $3.8 billion in new revenue.

"Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, the most vocal critic at the meeting, noted Saylor's plan grants tax relief to business owners and people with second homes while failing to eliminate property tax bills for 270,000 senior citizens as Wolf's plan would do.  What's more, he noted it does nothing to address a key issue that the governor was elected on - increasing the investment in education. Saylor, who chairs the House Education Committee, said he would look to the Basic Education Funding Commission's report to address that issue."
Key differences exist between House GOP, Wolf property tax plans
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 14, 2015 at 7:33 PM, updated April 15, 2015 at 1:34 AM
House Republican lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a property tax relief plan that they see as a better alternative to one Gov. Tom Wolf proposes.  Like the governor's plan, it calls for increasing the state's income and sales tax rates to shift the school funding burden off homeowners. But there are many differences between the two proposals as became evident during an airing of the proposal before the House Finance Committee on Tuesday.  One of those difference is the pace at which the House GOP plan is moving.

Wolf, GOP are really not that far apart on budget issues (YDR opinion)
York Daily Record editorial UPDATED:   04/14/2015 08:20:33 AM EDT
Cheers to Gov. Tom Wolf for visiting York College to highlight the good things happening at the school's J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship.  He also took the opportunity during the visit to the school to talk up his budget proposal — as he's been doing during various events for weeks.  He said that schools such as the private York College can become drivers of economic development. Indeed.  He also noted that the state universities (Shippensburg, Millersville, etc.) recently agreed to a tuition freeze in exchange for a $45 million increase in state funding. Seems only fair that students should benefit from that funding increase.

Glen Grell to leave House, take top job overseeing school pensions: report
Penn Live By David Wenner | dwenner@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 14, 2015 at 7:30 PM, updated April 14, 2015 at 8:56 PM
State Rep. Glen Grell of Cumberland County will leave the Legislature to become executive director of the Public School Employees' Retirement System, ABC27 is reporting.  Grell, a Republican, was elected to the state House in 2004 to represent a district that includes Camp Hill, Hampden and East Pennsboro townships and part of Silver Spring Township.  ABC27 said a special election will be held to fill the seat. Grell didn't immediately return a message on Tuesday evening.   Grell, a lawyer, was a member of the PSERS board of trustees from 2009 to 2014.  PSERS has been headed by an acting executive director, Terrill Sanchez, who was appointed following the recent retirement of longtime Executive Director Jeffrey Clay.  As of mid-2014, PSERS oversaw assets of $53 billion and pensions involving 267,000 active school employees and 209,000 retirees.

“This legislation is not about keeping schools level funded,” said Hickernell and Aument. “It’s about preserving their existing state appropriations while a debate on future funding occurs if there is a delay in meeting the June 30 budget deadline.”
Captitolwire: Two Republican lawmakers announce ‘hold harmless’-type bill for schools, in case there’s budget impasse
PSBA website Reprinted with Permission By Christen Smith, Staff Reporter, Capitolwire
HARRISBURG (April 13) – Two Republican lawmakers announced plans Monday to introduce what they call “School Funding Guarantee Legislation.”  Rep. Dave Hickernell and Sen. Ryan Aument, both representing Lancaster County, in a joint statement issued Monday afternoon said “protracted” budget negotiations sometimes leave school districts without dedicated funding, and their companion bills, to be introduced in both chambers, would be designed to prevent it from happening again.  It’s especially prudent given Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent comments to the media, saying he plans to be at the capitol all summer long, well beyond the budget’s June 30 deadline.  “The only budget item the Pennsylvania Constitution requires us to fund is education,” Aument said. “We can have a debate about Mr. Wolf’s tax hikes and education funding level requests, but while that happens our schools should continue to be funded without interruption.”
The bill borrows the concept of “hold harmless” — which assures school districts will, at least, receive level funding from the state year after year — and turns it into the Emergency Basic Education Subsidy Fund, to be accessed during budget stalemates that extend beyond August 15 each year.

5 things to know about PSSA tests
Lancaster Online By KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:30 am | Updated: 6:47 am, Wed Apr 15, 2015.
Kids today may prefer texting to writing, but there's still one time of year when No. 2 pencils get their glory.  That's right. Standardized testing time, and it has arrived in Lancaster County.  Students began taking the Pennsylvania Standardized System of Assessment tests this week. It's the first year PSSAs are fully aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards, meaning they should be more challenging than in the past.  Here are five things to know about the tests.

Here's what 10 Lancaster County kids think about standardized tests
Lancaster Online By KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:30 am | Updated: 6:34 am, Wed Apr 15, 2015.
Standardized tests. To some kids, they're a looming menace at the end of the school year. To others, they're simply a fact of life.  For parents and policymakers, they've become a hot-button issue as more families opt out of the tests, and legislators debate a re-write of the law that increased their frequency in schools. Gov. Tom Wolf has weighed in on the issue, too, saying there's too much emphasis on standardized tests.   Pennsylvania students in grade 3 to 8 began annual PSSA testing this week. LNP talked to children across Lancaster County to find out what they think of the tests. Here's what 10 of them said.

Nutter's team blasts mayoral candidates on education funding ideas, pushes property tax hike
WHYY Newsworks BY KEVIN MCCORRY APRIL 14, 2015
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has made headlines recently for blasting the field of candidates running to take his job.  Specifically, he says that all of their plans to meet the school district's funding needs are "bogus."  On Monday, Nutter deployed two of his top officials to go through the mayoral candidates education funding ideas, and, plan by plan, explain why they're not the best routes to delivering the recurring $103 million that Superintendent Hite has requested by September.  "It's not that these are all horrible ideas and that no one should look at them, it's just that they don't get the district what it needs," said city finance director Rob Dubow at a City Hall press conference.  The Nutter administration's critique analyzed twelve of the proposals forwarded by candidates this campaign season. The full report can be viewed below.

City finance director: Candidates' plans for schools fall short
CHRIS HEPP, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 10:19 PM
Philadelphia Finance Director Rob Dubow was a bit more politic than his boss, but his message Tuesday was the same: The plans offered by the Democratic mayoral candidates to fund city schools just don't add up.  "It is not like these are all horrible ideas," Dubow told a room of reporters. "It is, they just don't get the district what it needs."  That was a more measured assessment than one offered last week by Mayor Nutter, who called the candidates' solutions to the school funding crisis "bogus."  "Let's cut the phoniness," Nutter said. "Let's be serious about educating kids."  Nutter has offered his own proposal - a 9.4 percent property-tax increase - which, not surprisingly, has been uniformly snubbed by the six candidates facing voters in the May 19 Democratic primary.  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/mayor/20150415_City_finance_director__Candidates__plans_for_schools_fall_short.html#V5GtZLFYVvIxa8Hf.99

"The district will spend about $3 million more next year than this year, according to the budget. That's due to $2.5 million in increased pension obligations and $300,000 in employee salaries, he said."
Easton Area School District on track toward 2.4 percent tax increase
By Rudy Miller | The Express-Times Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 14, 2015 at 7:40 PM, updated April 14, 2015 at 8:20 PM
Easton Area School District is on course to approve a 2015-16 budget with a 2.4 percent tax increase, according to the district's administration.  District Chief Operating Officer Michael Simonetta told the school board Tuesday thepreliminary projections haven't changed. The budget is due for preliminary approval next week and final approval next month.

"The district's fund balance, which is similar to a savings account, is expected to have $15.2 million left at the end of the current school year. Of that amount, $11.2 million will be assigned for future increases in pension, health care and other employee benefit costs and the district will tap $1.2 million of the assigned funds to plug a hole in the 2015-16 budget, Melber said."
Southern Lehigh looking to hold line on taxes
By Charles Malinchak Special to The Morning Call April 14, 2015
School taxes would remain steady for the third consecutive year in the Southern Lehigh School District under a preliminary spending plan for 2015-16.  The school board on Monday unanimously approved a preliminary $60.7 million budget, which is 4.5 percent higher than this year's outlay but holds the property tax rate at 15.37 mills.  That means the owner of an average property assessed at $200,000 would continue to pay $3,074 in school property taxes next year.  Jeremy Melber, district director of business services, said 2.4 percent of the spending increase will go toward paying increased costs of employee benefits such as pensions and health insurance. 

State College school board examines budget in light of governor’s funding proposal
Centre Daily Times BY SHAWN ANNARELLI sannarelli@centredaily.comApril 13, 2015 
STATE COLLEGE — Gov. Tom Wolf’s state budget could provide a boost of about $826,000 in state funding for the State College Area School District, but Business Administrator Randy Brown said not to bank on it.  The possibility of increased funding is not reflected in the school district’s preliminary budget due to likely political discussions about the state’s budget. Brown recommended that the possible funding, if it is received, be allocated to non-recurring expenses.  Not much has changed to SCASD’s $136 million preliminary 2015-16 budget since it was revealed Jan. 13.  The school district’s budget is still about $10 million more than the current budget and calls for a 5.49 percent tax increase. The budget includes a 1.9 percent tax increase that follows the state-mandated Act 1 index and a 3.59 percent increase related to the referendum debt.

Palmyra board asks staff to cut $400K from 2015-16 budget
Superintendent Lisa Brown says the cuts could include programs and staff
Lebanon Daily News By Chris Sholly chrissholly@ldnews.com @cgsholly on Twitter UPDATED:   04/10/2015 10:50:37 PM EDT
PALMYRA >> Palmyra school board directors have asked administrators to cut an additional $400,000 from the 2015-16 budget. On Thursday night, Superintendent Lisa Brown told the board the staff has started that process but did not have a detailed list to present at the meeting.  "Things that I think we'll need to bring back to you in detail will include increasing elementary class sizes, evaluating the need for replacing vacant positions and retirements, Reading Recovery program cuts, music program cuts, athletic program cuts," Brown told the board.  In February, Brown presented a preliminary budget with a 6 percent tax increase. Since then, administrators made further cuts to the budget, reducing the tax increase to about 4.6 percent.  She pointed out to the board that the district has made significant cuts in the past seven years.  "There's not a lot of extras within the current budget," she said. "We're pretty lean. There's not a lot more we can look at without it impacting staffing."  Assistant superintendent Bernie Kepler pointed out that the district "cannot furlough staff for economic purposes."  "So you have to look at programs or attrition or vacant positions," he added.  Brown said she has some concerns about cutting programs because "we continue to see a growing population. To say we're going to take a department and cut it, where do we then put those students?"

W. Mifflin school tops the nation in online study
Trib Live By Eric Slagle Thursday, April 9, 2015, 3:51 a.m.
Think about this: Your teacher gives you an online, optional homework assignment. Would you do it?  At West Mifflin Area Middle School, 421 students opted in for the extra work and earned the top middle school rating out of 723 schools nationwide participating in an annual spring study marathon administered through the web-based standards mastery program Study Island.  The school serves students in fourth through eighth grades.  The school was awarded the title of “The Elite 20,” which means it had 20 or more students in the top 100 earning blue ribbons for success in online lessons.  Fifty were in the top 200. Those included one seventh-grader, 48 sixth-graders, and one fifth-grader. No other school in the country had as many students in the top 200, the district said.
Catasauqua school district to continue reimbursing volunteers for background checks
By Christy Potter Special to The Morning Call April 14, 2015
Anyone who signs up to volunteer with the Catasauqua Area School District will continue to get the cost for clearances reimbursed — at least for now.  During their regular meeting Monday night, school directors discussed whether to change the district's policy on volunteer clearance.  Under the current policy, those who wish to volunteer in the district must obtain a report of criminal history from state police and an official clearance statement from the state Department of Public Welfare.  The current cost is about $48 per person for both, which the district reimburses. Superintendent Robert Spengler said those reimbursements cost the district an estimated $2,500 a year.  Board President Penny Hahn introduced the topic and questioned whether the district wants to continue reimbursing volunteers. In the ensuing discussion, many directors questioned why the district should continue to pay for the clearances when people can use them repeatedly for other organizations that require the same validation.
After a brief discussion, the board opted to leave the policy unchanged and revisit it next year.

Saucon Valley School Board votes down deadline extension on teacher contract offer
By Christina Tatu Of The Morning Call April 14, 2015
The Saucon Valley School Board on Tuesday night narrowly voted down a motion to extend the deadline for teachers to vote on the district's latest contract offer.  Directors' refusal came despite petitions from parents asking for an extension and a union meeting scheduled for Wednesday night where teachers have said they plan to vote on the offer.  The motion would have given teachers until midnight Wednesday to vote on the district's Feb. 26 offer, which came with an April 10 deadline.  District officials had said if teachers failed to vote by the deadline, the offer would revert to a less generous one proposed in the fall.  Union officials asked for the extension last Friday, citing circumstances they said prevented a vote before the deadline.

Testing Resistance & Reform News: April 8 - 14, 2015
Submitted by fairtest on April 14, 2015 - 1:16pm 
Today is huge for assessment reform with the U.S. Senate education committee starting markup of legislation to overhaul "No Child Left Behind," tens of thousands of students planning to opt-out of the first day of standardized exams in New York State, and sentencing scheduled in the Atlanta cheating case that has focused attention on damage from the fixation on test scores.  Here's a sampling of just one week's news from across the nation. Please continue sending us your clips and let us know if FairTest can help your local campaigns in any way

Atlanta School Workers Sentenced in Test Score Cheating Case
New York Times By RICHARD FAUSSET and ALAN BLINDER APRIL 14, 2015
ATLANTA — In an unexpectedly harsh sentence after a polarizing six-year ordeal, eight of the 10 educators convicted of racketeering in one of the nation’s largest public school cheating scandals were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years Tuesday after they refused to take sentencing deals that were predicated on their acceptance of responsibility and a waiver of their right to appeal.  As a result, the sentences, meted out after a raucous court hearing, offered a conflicted, inconclusive coda to a scandal that has brought shame and soul-searching to Atlanta and its 50,000-student public school system. Some were furious with the sentences, and some were pleased.

'It is altogether fitting we should do this' For Abe Lincoln - The text of the Gettysburg Address
By PennLive Editorial Board on April 14, 2015 at 2:30 PM, updated April 14, 2015 at 2:36 PM
(*Editor's Note: Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's death. We reprint his most famous words here in memory of this turning point in American history.)


You're invited to our 2015 YEA!  Philadelphia Investor Panel Competition on April 22nd at Rosemont College! 5:30 meet & greet; 6:30 Presentations
Young Entrepreneurs Academy - Philadelphia and suburban middle schoolers make presentations to a panel of local investors to obtain funding for their business/social movements.  We hope you can join us for this fun and inspiring event. Registration is FREE:

DISTRICT TO HOLD SEVEN COMMUNITY BUDGET MEETINGS
PHILADELPHIA—The School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with local organizations, will host seven community budget meetings. District officials will share information about budget projections and request input on school resources and investments.  Partnering groups include the Philadelphia Education Fund, POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild), Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), local clergy and community advocates. All meetings will be held 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows:
 Wednesday, April 15
Northeast High School, 1601 Cottman Ave.
 Wednesday, April 22
Bartram High School, 2401 S. 67th St.
 Tuesday, April 28
West Philadelphia High School, 4901 Chestnut St.
 Wednesday, May 6
Dobbins High School, 2150 W. Lehigh Ave.
 Tuesday, May 12
South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St.
 Thursday, May 14
Congreso, 216 West Somerset St.
 Wednesday, May 20
Martin Luther King High School, 6100 Stenton Ave.

Nominations for PSBA offices closes April 30
PSBA Leadership Development Committee seeks strong leaders for the association
Members interested in becoming the next leaders of PSBA are encouraged to complete an Application for Nomination no later than April 30. As a member-driven association, the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) is seeking nominees with strong skills in leadership and communication, and who have vision for PSBA. The positions open are:
  • 2016 President Elect (one-year term)
  • 2016 Vice President (one-year term)
  • 2016 Eastern Section at Large Representative - includes Regions 7, 8, 10, 11 and 15 (three-year term) 
Complete details on the nomination process, including scheduled dates for nominee interviews, can be found online by clicking here.

Please join Education Voters, school officials, community leaders and guest legislators at upcoming community forums in the Lehigh Valleycentral PA, and Southeastern PA to discuss school funding and state funding policy. Click HERE for more details. Pre-registration for the forum is recommended, but not necessary.
Lehigh Valley Forum April 22, 7:00-8:30
Penn State Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd, Center Valley, PA 18034
The entrance is at the back of the building and parking is available in lots by the school. 
Confirmed panelists include:
Dr. Bill Haberl, superintendent, Pen Argyl Area SD
Dr. Joe Roy, superintendent, Bethlehem Area SD
Mr. Rich Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland SD
Mr. Russ Giordano, school board director, Salisbury Township SD
Ms. Stacy Gober, CFO, Bethlehem Area SD
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator: Roberta Marcus, School Board Director, Parkland SD
Register HERE to attend the Lehigh Valley education forum.

Central PA education forum Tuesday, April 28, 6:30-8:30
Grace Lutheran Church (in Harkins Hall), 205 S. Garner Street, State College
Panelists
Dr. Cheryl Potteiger, superintendent, Bellefonte Area School District
Ms. Kelly Hastings, superintendent, Keystone Central School District
Mr. James Estep, superintendent, Mifflin County School District
Mr. Sean Daubert, CFO, Mifflin County School District
Dr. Robert O’Donnell, superintendent, State College Area School District
Mr. David Hutchison, school board member, State College Area School District
Ms. Cathy Harlow, superintendent, Tyrone Area School District
Mrs. Linda Smith, superintendent, Williamsburg Community School District
Register HERE to attend the central PA education forum.

Southeastern PA Regional Meeting on School Funding
Wednesday April 29th 7:00 pm Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 West Leamy Avenue, Springfield, PA 19064
Local school district leaders will discuss how state funding issues are impacting our children’s educational opportunities, our local taxes and our communities.
Hosted by Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council, Education Voters of PA, the Keystone State Education Coalition and Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Panelists:
Mr. Frank Agovino, school board president, Springfield School District and Board of Directors, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce
Dr. James Capolupo, superintendent, Springfield School District
Dr. Wagner Marseille, Acting Superintendent, Lower Merion School District 
Mr. Joe Bruni, superintendent, William Penn School District
Dr. Richard Dunlap, superintendent, Upper Darby School District
Mr. Stanley Johnson. Executive Director of Operations, Phoenixville Area School District
Ms. Susan Gobreski, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA
Moderator: Mr. Lawrence Feinberg, Chairman, Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council
Registration info to be provided soon.

All are invited for a screening of the documentary:
STANDARDIZED: Lies, Money & Civil Rights—How Testing is Ruining Public Education Monday, April 27, 7-9PM
The Saturday Club, 117 West Wayne Avenue, Wayne, PA
Standardized testing has long been a part of public education. Over the last ten years however, education reform has become an increasingly heated political issue and seemingly a highly profitable target market for private enterprise resulting in expanded and high-stakes testing. While some hold the view that testing is an effective assessment of student ability and teacher and school effectiveness, many feel these exams are instead undermining our students, teachers and schools.   Daniel Hornberger’s STANDARDIZED documentary raises issues about this model of  education reform and the standardized testing that goes along with it. The film includes interviews with prominent educational experts and government officials who take aim at the goal of standardization that is being promoted and imposed by our federal and state governments. It sheds light on the development, nature and use of these assessments, the consequences of high-stakes testing, and the ostensible private enterprise and government agendas behind them. 
A Q&A session with a panel of informed parents, teachers and experts will follow.
This screening is made possible through a collaboration of Radnor, Tredyffrin/Easttown and Lower Merion concerned parents and PTOs.
For questions and to RSVP, contact RTSDPTOPTSA@gmail.com

Your Right to a Fair Shot: Discrimination Claims, Post-Secondary and the Professions

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Tuesday, April 21, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

United Way Building 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, 19103
Attendees will learn about discrimination claims, post-secondary schools and the professions in this session. You'll learn how federal law aids students with disabilities who do not qualify for special education services, hear about recent cases, and understand strategies for getting students services.  This session is co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice, a Pre-approved Provider of Continuing Education for Pennsylvania licensed social workers.  
Tickets: Attorneys $200       General Public $100      Webinar $50   
"Pay What You Can" tickets are also available

Who will be at the PSBA Advocacy Forum April 19-20 in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg?
  • Acting Ed Sec'y Pedro Rivera
  • Senate Ed Committee Majority Chairman Lloyd Smucker
  • House Ed Committee Majority Chairman Stan Saylor
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne
  • Diane Ravitch
  • House Majority Leader Dave Reed
  • House Minority Leader Frank Dermody
  • 2014 PSBA Tim Allwein Advocacy Award winners Shauna D'Alessandro and Mark Miller
How about You?
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.
·         Registration is only $25! We don't want cost to be a factor. That's how important public education advocacy is!
·         Can't make the two days? Register and come to either day that works into your schedule.
Details and Registration for PSBA members (only $25.00) https://www.psba.org/event/advocacy-forum-day-hill-2015/

Register for the April 18 Education Voters Advocacy Summit in Harrisburg
Education Voters of Pennsylvania will be holding a half-day advocacy summit for public education advocates on Saturday April 18 from 10:00-2:00 in Harrisburg, PA.
During the summit we will:
  • Get an update on Governor Wolf’s budget from John Hanger, secretary of planning and policy,
  • Develop successful advocacy techniques and strategies to maximize our impact on public policy,
  • Receive organizing and communications training
  • Network with other advocates from throughout the state, and
  • Leave prepared to support fair and adequate state funding for schools this year!
Event Location: Temple University Harrisburg 234 Strawberry Square Harrisburg, PA 17101
Lunch will be provided. Please register today! Space is limited.

Join NPE in Chicago April 25-26
Curmuducation Blog Saturday, March 21, 2015
I don't get out much. I'm a high school English teacher in a small town, and kind of homebody by nature. When I leave town, it's for family or work. But in just over a month, on the weekend of April 25-26, I am taking a trip to Chicago for neither.   The Network for Public Education is the closest thing to an actual formal organization of the many and varied people standing up for public education in this modern era of privatizing test-driven corporate education reform. NPE held a conference last year, and they're doing it again this year-- a gathering of many of the strongest voices for public education in America today. Last year I followed along on line-- this year I will be there.

Beyond a New School Funding Formula: Lifting Student Achievement to Grow PA's Economy
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM (EDT) Harrisburg, PA
7:30 am: Light breakfast fare and registration; 8:00 am: Program
Harrisburg University Auditorium, Strawberry Square 326 Market Street Harrisburg, PA 17101 
Opening Remarks by Neil D. Theobald, President, Temple University

SESSION I: THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ACHIEVEMENT GAPS IN PENNSYLVANIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS with introduction by Rob Wonderling, President, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Member, Center on Regional Politics Executive Committee.            
Presentation by Lynn A. Karoly, Senior Economist, RAND Corporation 

SESSION II: WHAT CAN PENNSYLVANIA LEARN FROM THE WORLD’S LEADING SCHOOL SYSTEMS? with introduction by David H. Monk, Dean, Pennsylvania State University College of Education
Presentation by Marc S. Tucker, President and CEO, National Center on Education and the Economy 
Sessions to be followed by a response panel moderated by Francine Schertzer, Director of Programming, Pennsylvania Cable Network 
Program presented by the University Consortium to Improve Public School Finance and Promote Economic Growth

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