Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup April 22: Miller and Seidenberger: Fund schools fairly so all students receive quality education; School Funding Case One Step Closer to Hearing by PA Supreme Court

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 22, 2015:
Miller and Seidenberger: Fund schools fairly so all students receive quality education; School Funding Case One Step Closer to Hearing by PA Supreme Court



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.



Circuit Riders Miller and Seidenberger: Fund schools fairly so all students receive quality education
The Morning Call Opinion April 21, 2015
Sandra Miller, a member of the Saucon Valley School Board, and Tom Seidenberger, former superintendent of the East Penn School District, are part of a group of present and former school officials advocating for fair education funding in Pennsylvania.
There's no doubt that public education has emerged as a top issue for voters, parents and taxpayers across our state. Headlines in virtually every paper help to explain why many school districts are struggling with rising costs amid declining revenues in recent years.
Here in the Lehigh Valley, all parents and all taxpayers have a chance to engage with educators from across the region to learn more about the challenges that schools confront and what can be done about to fix these problems both here in our own backyard and in Harrisburg.
Education Voters Pennsylvania and the Campaign for Fair Education Funding, two statewide advocacy groups, are co-sponsoring a discussion on public school funding 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Penn State Lehigh Valley campus in Center Valley. Lehigh Valley school district leaders will share their experiences of how current state funding practices have affected students and taxpayers across the county. Parents, fellow educators, and taxpayers are invited to ask questions.  Gov. Tom Wolf has made increased funding for education one of his top priorities, and the governor's proposals have spurred a spirited debate about how our state funds public education.

"Under the legislation, the lowest-performing five percent of schools - both district and charter, as determined by the state-calculated school performance profile score - would be directed to transform themselves through tools such as contracting with outside providers or converting to charters. They would be exempt from union seniority rules, and parents could also force changes with a majority vote.  If the schools didn't turn around within three years, they could be placed into a new "Achievement School District" to be run by the state. The lowest one percent of schools would have two years to transform, or face placement in the state district.  The state-run district would have latitude to close schools and authorize new charters. Schools in the state system would be funded the way charters are now, with a set per-pupil allocation."
A plan to make schools perform or be run by Pennsylvania
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM AND ANGELA COULOUMBIS, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 6:27 PM
Pennsylvania's lowest-performing schools could be given an ultimatum - reform quickly, or face relegation to a new, state-run district - under legislation to be introduced soon.
The bill, crafted by state Senator Lloyd Smucker (R., Lancaster), could remake the Philadelphia School District, where most of the struggling schools now reside. Supporters say it has a shot at passage in this legislative session, particularly as a way to partner the increased education funding Gov. Wolf seeks with accountability measures palatable to Republicans.

"His nomination to the $152,657-a-year post next goes to the Senate Rules Committee before it moves to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote. It requires a simple majority from the chamber's current 49 members to be approved. A spokeswoman for the Senate GOP leadership said she expects Rivera's confirmation vote will take place in early May."
Senate panel gives nod to Rivera's confirmation as education secretary
By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 21, 2015 at 3:10 PM, updated April 21, 2015 at 3:11 PM
Following a healthy discussion that touched on a myriad of educational issues, the Senate Education Committee voted on Tuesday to recommend Pedro Rivera's nomination as Gov. Tom Wolf's education secretary for confirmation by the full Senate.  Rivera, 45, emphasized to the committee his commitment to transparency, being accountable, being responsive, listening to stakeholders and being focused on improving student learning.  "We want our successes to outlast us all. So whether I'm secretary or whomever is secretary next, I hope to build a culture and legacy that's going to serve the children of the commonwealth for 50 to 100 years," Rivera said, as his wife Erika watched from the first row of seats in the hearing room.

And the nominees are... Department of Education Sec. Rivera
The PLS Reporter Author: Alanna Koll/Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Video runtime 4:08
Meet Acting Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education Pedro Rivera. Learn about his background in education, his goals for the department, and what he likes to do in his down time. 

Gov. Wolf, Republicans finalize budget work groups at Tuesday meeting
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Tuesday, April 21, 2015/
House and Senate Republican leaders met with Gov. Tom Wolf for the second straight week Tuesday and finalized the working groups that will be dealing with the budget and component ancillary issues.  “It’s part of our continued meetings with the governor to discuss process and I think we now have a process in place with working groups that will begin budget-related conversations this week,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) following Tuesday’s meeting.  “We’ve got a revenue work group, a liquor [work group], education, and pensions,” he said. “I think everything is ready to go on that.”  Despite the House Finance Committee pulling Rep. Stan Saylor’s (R-York) property tax reform proposal from its agenda at the request of the administration, Sen. Scarnati reported that subject was not discussed during the Tuesday meeting.  Sen. Scarnati characterized the meeting—and similar types of meetings—as productive.  “I think the ability to meet and discuss things in that type of setting with leaders, and the governor, and our senior staffs, it’s a productive way,” he said. “Here we are and it’s mid-to-late April and I think we are on target to—as we have in the past—deliver a budget on time.”

"The plaintiffs in this case had hoped that the adoption of statewide academic requirements and graduation requirements provided a benchmark to determine what constitutes a "thorough and efficient" education, as mandated by the state constitution.  Since the last major ruling, the legislature had also ordered a "costing-out study" that set levels for what each school district in the state needed in order to provide students with an adequate education."
Commonwealth Court dismisses Pennsylvania school funding case; plaintiffs to appeal
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on Apr 21, 2015 11:35 AM
Commonwealth Court has dismissed a school funding complaint brought by several school districts, parents, and groups alleging that Pennsylvania's method of paying for education is unconstitutional and inequitable.  The ruling was another in a long line of Pennsylvania state court decisions affirming that school funding is strictly a function of the legislature and executive branch and therefore "nonjusticiable."  “We are disappointed that they didn’t take up what we considered to be a clear-cut constitutional issue," said Joseph Bard, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Rural and Small Schools, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. "But we will place our reliance on the Supreme Court to take a look at it.”  

"Six school districts - William Penn, Panther Valley, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown Area and Shenandoah Valley - along with the parents of six students, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and the state arm of the NAACP had petitioned the court to intervene to order an overhaul of what they argued is an inequitable school funding formula."
Commonwealth Court refuses to step into school funding fray
Penn Live By Matt Miller | mmiller@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 21, 2015 at 2:25 PM
Saying it doesn't have jurisdiction over such a "legislative policy" matter, Commonwealth Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea by a bevy of school districts and their allies to revamp what they claim is the state's failing education funding system.  That issue is a matter for the Legislature, President Judge Dan Pellegrini concluded in the court's decision.  The fight isn't likely to end there, however, since the Commonwealth Court ruling is expected to be appealed to the state Supreme Court.  The reluctance of the Commonwealth Court to wade into the school funding fuss was telegraphed by the judges during a hearing on the case in March.

"This is a question of paramount importance to all Pennsylvanians, and we always knew this would ultimately be decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court," Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, part of the legal team representing the petitioners, said in a statement."
Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court dismisses school funding lawsuit
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau April 21, 2015 12:57 PM
HARRISBURG -- A panel of judges has dismissed a lawsuit from school districts and parents claiming that Pennsylvania's system of school funding fails to meet the state's obligation to students.  The Commonwealth Court panel, in an opinion released today, said the level of annual funding needed for each student to meet educational standards is a decision for the Legislature, not the courts.  "This is a legislative policy determination that has been solely committed to the General Assembly," says the opinion, written by President Judge Dan Pellegrini. 
Attorneys for the petitioners said they will file an appeal to the state Supreme Court within 30 days.

Scarnati Statement on Commonwealth Court Education Funding Case
PA Senate Republican webiste April 21, 2015
(HARRISBURG) – Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-25) has issued the following statement on the Commonwealth Court’s ruling regarding Pennsylvania education funding:
“Today’s decision by a unanimous Commonwealth Court validates our position that decisions regarding education funding are fully vested in the Legislature. This most recent ruling complies with a series of Supreme Court cases that have previously stated the same.  “The matter of education funding has been thoroughly vetted by the Pennsylvania Judicial Branch on numerous occasions and we see no reason why the plaintiffs should pursue an appeal, which would needlessly place additional costs upon taxpayers to continue to defend an issue that is well settled.  “The Legislature continues to engage in discussions and examine the best ways to provide fair funding and outstanding educational opportunities for students across our Commonwealth.”

School Funding Lawsuit Update from Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia April 21, 2015
School Funding Case One Step Closer to Hearing by Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Commonwealth Court Refuses to Review Whether School Funding Complies with State Constitution
Thorough and Efficient Blog APRIL 21, 2015BGRIMALDI2015LEAVE A COMMENT
Harrisburg, Pa. – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania today issued an order in the lawsuit challenging the state’s failure to adequately and equitably fund Pennsylvania’s public schools.  The lower court interpreted prior state Supreme Court precedent as eliminating any role for the courts in overseeing whether the legislature complies with the state constitution on school funding questions.   Counsel for the petitioners will file an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania within the next thirty days. “This is a question of paramount importance to all Pennsylvanians, and we always knew this would ultimately be decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, a member of the legal team representing petitioners in this case.

Commonwealth Court's Opinion by President Judge Pelligrini April 21, 2015

State Senate majority leader has pension-reform plan in works
By Pennsylvania Business Daily ReportsApril 20, 2015 6:46 PM
Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Dist. 34) expects to introduce a plan in the coming weeks to  reform the structure of the state’s beleaguered pension system for current and future employees.  “We must restructure the public pension system,” Jennifer Kocher, communications director for Corman, said recently. “Upgrading the system must include structural changes to the pension system, rather than using the MasterCard to pay off the Visa,” Kocher said.  Current retiree benefits would not be affected under the upcoming bill that will be submitted to the Senate for consideration, Kocher said, without adding specific details.

Pa. Senate's top leader backs liquor privatization bill
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 4:45 p.m.
HARRISBURG — The Senate's top Republican said Tuesday he will co-sponsor legislation by a freshman GOP senator to privatize the state's liquor system.  Senate President Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County said he believes the chamber will “work closely” with the House to develop a liquor privatization bill to send Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf as an alternative to higher income and sales taxes proposed in Wolf's budget.  Support from Scarnati is “hugely significant,” said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.  “It's hard to underestimate the importance of his support” for selling the state stores, Madonna said.  “I support privatization,” Scarnati said. “I just have concerns about the damage it has in rural areas.”
Top Democratic Senators weigh in on education funding, pension reform and property taxes
Penn Live By Christian Alexandersen | calexandersen@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 21, 2015 at 5:26 PM, updated April 21, 2015 at 5:27 PM
Education funding, pension reform and Gov. Tom Wolf's Cabinet nominees were among some of the topics two top Democratic Senators spoke about during an impromptu press conference Tuesday.  Senators Jay Costa, D-Allegheny County, and Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia, stopped by the Pennsylvania Capitol press room to weigh in on a number of issues. The 20-plus minute press conference touched a variety of topics.  Here's a breakdown of some of the issues Costa and Hughes spoke about on Tuesday:

House GOP property tax plan vote delayed in a quest for compromise
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on April 21, 2015 at 4:47 PM, updated April 21, 2015 at 5:57 PM
A vote on a House Republican-crafted property tax reform plan that was scheduled for Tuesday's House Finance Committee was delayed until early next month.  Committee Chairman Bernie O'Neill said the delay came as a last-minute request of House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, who is working on the issue with Gov. Tom Wolf's staff.  A spokesman for Reed confirmed that the governor's office wants to try to resolve some differences between Wolf's plan and the House Republican proposal that Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Red Lion, offered last week before the committee moves forward with a vote on Saylor's plan.

"You might be thinking: “We all took standardized tests each year when we were kids and we’re OK!”  But things have changed. It is no longer the same as when you and I were in school. Most of us had only two mornings of testing, perhaps, in math and reading. Most Pittsburgh Public Schools sixth-graders are required to take 22 standardized tests this year.
You might be thinking, “As a teacher you can use the results of these tests to help the students improve.” But I cannot. The tests are developmentally inappropriate for my students, written far above their grade level."
The PSSAs are hurting my kids
I have become a conscientious objector and will not administer them any more
Post Gazette Letter by Mary King April 22, 2015 12:00 AM
Mary King has been teaching for nearly 26 years, all but four of them in Pittsburgh Public Schools. In addition to teaching ESL, she has been a school librarian, language arts teacher and school psychologist. She lives in Squirrel Hill.
I am an English as a second language teacher in grades four to eight at Pittsburgh Colfax K-8. The other day one of my ESL students passed me a note with a shy smile as he left our classroom: “Learn English is the best thinks a never have in my life.” My heart melted. This student arrived just last spring with absolutely no English. He is finally starting to speak above a whisper.  But this student is being crushed, intellectually and emotionally. Despite the fact that he is still so new to English, he is in the midst of his scheduled 16 hours of PSSA testing; my other ESL students are scheduled for between seven and 20 hours.
It is my professional opinion that this experience will set my student back, that it will hurt his progress, but my professional opinion will never be weighed against the many requirements — federal, state and district-wide —which demand that these tests be given.

More than 50 Beaver County students opt out of state tests
Beaver County Times By Daveen Rae Kurutz dkurutz@timesonline.com Posted: Sunday, April 19, 2015 11:45 pm
The number of Beaver County children whose parents opt-out of state-mandated testing for religious reasons has skyrocketed in the past six years, according a Times analysis.
During the 2009-10 school year, one child in grades 3 through 8 was opted out of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs, countywide. At least 53 children -- and an additional 136 at the statewide Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School -- are not taking the test this year.   “It all has to do with Common Core,” said Dawn Sweeney, organizer of “Opt Out PA,” an online blog based in Chester County for parents against current standardized testing. “I think parents are more aware of how much test preparation is happening and how stressful it is on the kids.”  A Times analysis of state data shows that between the 2009-10 school year and the 2013-14 school year, the number of children whose parents opted them out of state tests more than quintupled, from 164 to 1,055. State numbers were unavailable for the current school year.
Of the 18 school districts in the Times’ coverage area, the Beaver Area School District had the most students opt out this year with 18.

"Locally, 53 students from Beaver County schools and an additional 136 from PA Cyber did not take PSSAs this year."
Opting out
Daveen Rae Kurutz/The Beaver County Times | Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 9:05 pm
The number of students across the state opting out of standardized tests has skyrocketed in the past five years. Between 2010 and 2014, the total number of children whose parents did not allow them to take PSSAs more than quintupled from 164 to 1,055. Locally, 53 students from Beaver County schools and an additional 136 from PA Cyber did not take PSSAs this year. Click on or hover over the charts below for more information.

Easton Area School District workers volunteer to feed kids over the summer
By Rudy Miller | The Express-Times Email the author | Follow on Twitter on April 21, 2015 at 8:35 PM, updated April 21, 2015 at 9:19 PM
When the school year ends, the need to feed disadvantaged children continues.
So teachers, bus drivers and other Easton Area School District employees will volunteer for six weeks this summer to provide free lunches at two district schools.   The federal government provides free lunches for disadvantaged children during the school year. School board President Frank Pintabone said after Tuesday's school board meeting the federal government will allow the district to continue to serve free lunches this summer at Paxinosa and Cheston elementary schools in Easton.  There's federal funding for the lunches but not the staff. So bus drivers have volunteered to get the children to the schools and teachers and other workers will make sure the children are served.  Superintendent John Reinhart said when administrators put out the call for volunteers, they were "overwhelmed with the desire on their part to help us with the project so we do not have to pay for additional help."

Blogger's note: Galeton is a small rural district with 340 students….
Belt-tightening: Galeton school district facing budget woes
Bradford Era By ALEX DAVIS Era Reporter a.davis@bradfordera.com | 0 comments Posted: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 10:00 am
Financial woes are forcing Galeton Area School District officials to furlough one teacher, cut hours for another and combine responsibilities for two positions.  The news came out of a recent school board meeting as officials attempt to make a $6.8 million draft budget work. In fact, a few teachers are saying they will not replace some school supplies as part of cost-cutting measures, Superintendent Brenda Freeman told The Era on Monday.  “We’re asking people to do more,” Freeman said.  School officials are planning to furlough a math teacher, though Freeman would not reveal a name just yet. She is waiting on approval from the state Department of Education. The school board is expected to approve the move on May 4.

Time to end the charter-District divide and build a united front
the notebook commentary By James H. Lytle on Apr 21, 2015 02:44 PM
James H. Lytle is Practice Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, a former District administrator, and a former superintendent in Trenton.
It’s time to end the charter vs. District school schism in Philadelphia. The horse is out of the barn. The deal is done. Get over it.  If Philadelphia’s public schools are going to get adequate funding, there needs to be a “united front” of charter and District leadership marching arm in arm to City Hall and Harrisburg. Supporting one or the other should not be a litmus test for mayoral or City Council candidates. Division won’t bring victory in Harrisburg.  District leaders need to join charter sector leaders and others to plan solutions to Philadelphia’s longstanding public education challenges. School Reform Commissioners Marjorie Neff and Bill Green, along with Superintendent William Hite and PFT president Jerry Jordan, should join with charter leaders such as Mastery’s Scott Gordon, Boys' Latin’s David Hardy, KIPP’s Marc Mannella, and with PSP’s Mark Gleason to form a factionless group formed for this purpose.  If this requires locking the group in a room until they emerge with a common agenda, then so be it. As a group, they have a great deal of credibility locally, statewide, and even nationally. They need to capitalize on their collective strength.

Brentwood Borough School Board approves major cutbacks
Trib Live By Stephanie HackeTuesday, April 21, 2015
Amidst tears and pleas from teachers and community members to save their jobs, a major cutback to staffing and programming was given the go-ahead by Brentwood Borough School Board members Monday night.  The move to curtail or alter several district programs through the elimination of eight professional staff members, was approved in an 8-1 vote, with board member David Schaap dissenting. An English teaching position and paraprofessional position, both vacated by retirement, also will be eliminated. There are 100 teachers in the Brentwood Education Association.  The district's $23 million preliminary budget for 2015-16 includes a $2.5 million deficit and, faced with a dwindling fund balance, leaders have said they need to make changes.
Shauna Casamassa D’Alessandro ’78 Receives PSBA Advocacy Award
IUP Magazine Spring 2015
The Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is pleased to announce that board president Shauna D’Alessandro has been named to receive the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award.  Established in 2011, the Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award is presented annually to an individual school director or an entire school board and recognizes outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education.  Ms. D’Alessandro has been a member of the West Jefferson Hills School Board since 2003. She has been a member of the AIU’s Board of Directors since 2007 and currently serves as president. She was elected vice president from 2010 to 2012. From 2007 to 2010, Ms. D’Alessandro was a member of the South Hills Area School District Association (SHASDA) and served as president of the board from 2009 to 2010. She is also a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh Class XXVI.

This New Play Brings Pennsylvania's School Funding Crisis To Life
Posted: 04/17/2015 9:12 pm EDT Updated: 04/18/2015 11:59 am EDT
Playwright Arden Kass doesn't just want you to know the statistics regarding school funding disparities in Pennsylvania -- that the state's poorest schools receive 33 percent less in state and local funding per pupil than the richest schools. She wants you to feel them.
"When you are presented with news reporting and statistics and graphics, it's very easy to distance yourself from the problems in the public schools if you happen to be a Pennsylvania resident who doesn’t have kids exactly in a public school," said Kass, who currently has one child in the Philadelphia public school system and another who recently graduated. “But what theater can do is humanize things and intellectualize things and get to people’s hearts.”
Kass is the co-creator of “School Play,” which showcases a series of monologues from characters who have been hurt by the slashing of school budgets. Their stories are based on interviews with more than 100 individuals, including teachers, students and parents

Lyrid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night
WHYY Newsworks DOWN THE SHORE  A BLOG BY JUSTIN AUCIELLO APRIL 21, 2015
It's once again time for the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower.  The celestial show will dazzle night owl sky gazers, but unlike the prolific Perseids in August, patience is a prerequisite for viewing. “The Lyrids are really unpredictable," says Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "For the 2015 shower, I'm expecting 15 to 20 Lyrid meteors an hour. Peak rates should occur after 10:30 p.m. on April 22 your local time."  The best time for viewing is a few hours before dawn, according to earthsky.org


Young Voters in the Capitol April 22 8:00AM - 5:00PM
N. 3RD ST.HARRISBURGPA 17120
PCCY: Join your neighbors, meet your local legislators and make a difference as we fight for a fair education funding formula in this year’s state budget.  We’ll provide: a brief training, materials, lunch and transportation to and from the Capitol and we’ll even schedule visits with legislators for you!  If you need transportation let us know!  We will be departing from in front of the United Way Building at 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway promptly at 8am.  We will return to Philly by approximately 4:30pm.  If you plan to meet up with us in Harrisburg, we will meet in the Capitol by 10:30am.  We will wrap up the day back in Philadelphia with a happy hour at Field House (1150 Filbert St.) from 5-7 pm.  We hope you can join us!

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 HERE to attend.

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

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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