Saturday, May 2, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 2: Delco superintendents discuss education funding challenges

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for May 2, 2015:
Delco superintendents discuss education funding challenges

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

Good luck tomorrow Broad Street runners and Pittsburgh marathoners! Drink!

"According to the Campaign for Fair Education Funding (, “Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a basic education funding formula to distribute sufficient resources both fairly and predictably. The result is a funding system that fails to provide enough resources to educational students to academic standards, produces a wide gap between the wealthiest and poorest schools, and is so unpredictable from year to year that school districts cannot effectively budget or plan.”
This wide gap was illustrated with side-by-side seating of Lower Merion acting Superintendent Wagner Marseille and William Penn Superintendent Joe Bruni."
Delco superintendents discuss education funding challenges
Delco Times By Susan L. Serbin, Times Correspondent POSTED: 05/01/15, 11:34 PM EDT 
SPRINGFIELD >> It comes as neither a surprise nor news to property owners that school districts face constant challenges to fund education. What may be less known is how funding works — or doesn’t — in Pennsylvania.  Larry Feinberg, a Haverford School Board member and chairman of the Delaware County School Boards Legislative Panel, organized and moderated a community meeting at Springfield High School about public school funding in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Feinberg’s panel represented a diverse cross section of education professionals who presented the current status of several districts related to funding issues.

"When you hear the national and local discourse around school funding, Lower Merion has the unfortunate, dubious distinction as the school that has everything," he said. "We are very fortunate in Lower Merion for a number of reasons, but our ZIP code does us very, very well."
He said wealthier districts need to be part of the conversation.
"Districts like ours, who are very fortunate, need to stand up alongside and argue for not just an economic reason but for a moral reason," he said. "We need to be, not in the background, but in the foreground, standing next to our colleagues because what happens outside these borders impacts what happens inside."
Waiting for fair-funding formula, school leaders assess Pa. funding disparities
WHYY Newsworks BY SARA HOOVER  MAY 1, 2015
When it comes to disparities in school funding, Pennsylvania is leading the country.
Community members gathered Wednesday in the Springfield High School auditorium in Delaware County to hear about the imbalance that has wealthier districts getting more state funds than poorer ones.  The panel reflected the disparity, with representatives of districts such as Lower Merion and Phoenixville sitting alongside educators from less wealthy William Penn and Upper Darby.

What does a state education formula do?
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on May 1, 2015 10:00 AM
About this series: Multiple Choices is a collaboration between Keystone Crossroads and the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, an independent, nonprofit source of education news. The project is funded by a grant from the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia.
Nationally, most education funding comes from local sources, but all state governments contribute to school costs in some way. Most of the time, the state programs compensate in some way for differences in property wealth, income levels, and taxing capacity among school districts.  Most states also have a formula that guides how the aid is distributed among districts in a consistent way from year to year, based on factors such as enrollment, local wealth, and student characteristics.  Ideally, formulas are designed to make sure all districts have adequate funds and to promote equity among districts. The particulars of each formula differ, but normally, richer districts get less state aid, while poorer districts depend on the state for much of their education money.

Take a look at the video of this track team and read William Penn School Board member Charlotte Hummel's brief commentary:
To the Readership,
Despite the shameful inequity these students endure; they win.  They are winners.  That PA treats them otherwise and others allow it to continue is a shame.  
Remember in PA - We're NUMBER ONE (repeat 3x) in EDUCATION INEQUITY!!!!
Charlotte K. Hummel, Esquire, WPSD Board Member
Pennwood High School Track Team's Uphill Battle To Victory
Fox29 News April 30, 2015 Video runtime 1:07

School Funding Case One Step Closer to Hearing by Pennsylvania Supreme Court
Commonwealth Court Refuses to Review Whether School Funding Complies with State Constitution
Education Law Center of PA website April 2015
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.

Marple Newtown taxes set to jump 3.05 percent
Delco Times POSTED: 05/01/15, 11:39 PM EDT
NEWTOWN >> The Marple Newtown School Board voted unanimously to adopt the 2015-2016 proposed final budget of $75.6 million.  The version, which would require a corresponding 3.05 percent tax increase, differed slightly from the preliminary $75.7 million budget and 3.67 percent tax increase approved by the directors in February.  Marple Newtown’s Act 1 index for next year, as set by the state, is 1.9 percent and the district applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the retirement exception to satisfy a portion of the difference. The Department of Education subsequently approved an exception of $622,110.

Wallingford-Swarthmore eyes 2.56 percent tax increase
Delco Times By NEIL A. SHEEHAN, Times Correspondent POSTED: 05/01/15, 11:37 PM EDT
NETHER PROVIDENCE >> The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2015-16 moved another step closer to final approval this week.  In the second of three separate votes the board must take on the $74 million spending roadmap, the board gave a thumbs-up in a 6-2 decision. As they did during the initial vote in February, board President Paul Schregel and member Robert Reiger did not support the plan, while member Sally Morbeck was not present.  Taxes will increase by 2.56 percent if the budget secures the last necessary board blessing. That vote is scheduled for June 8.

Williams, narrowly
Philadelphia's Democratic mayoral primary presents a civic conundrum wrapped in a question. The winner of this six-way contest, conducted in the distracting light of late spring, will have the approval of perhaps one-fifteenth of the city's population. And in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, that could well make him or her the next mayor - or, given a possible independent candidacy and a perfectly reasonable Republican, not.  Fortunately for the voters trying to solve this puzzle, the candidates' resumés and political bases effectively make this a two-man race, though not one that's easily called.

"My source tells me that American Cities, the super PAC funded by three wealthy suburban supporters of Williams, has made its ad placements for the remainder of the campaign. The committee's total spending on broadcast and cable TV for the campaign will exceed $4.6 million.  American Cities has also spent around $150,000 on radio ads".
Williams back on TV; Will his super PAC go negative?
After having been off the air for two weeks, the mayoral campaign of Philadelphia State Senator Anthony Williams is up with a new TV ad (above). But the key question in the race is whether the richly-endowed super PAC boosting his candidacy is prepared to go negative. More on that shortly.  In the new 30-second spot done by  Williams' campaign (as opposed to his super PAC), the candidate speaks directly into the camera about his hopes for his grandson. He talks about having a city with great neighborhood schools, a police force that protects and doesn't abuse its citizens, and opportunities for a job and career. The text on screen says "$15 minimum wage" and "Paid sick leave."  A source familiar with political ad placements tells me the campaign has bought around $65,000 worth of TV time to run the ad through next Thursday. That's a pretty modest placement. By contrast, the super PAC him is now spending over $700,000 a week on its TV buys.

State revenues exceed projections by $569M through April THE ASSOCIATED PRESS POSTED: Friday, May 1, 2015, 4:37 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania is getting some good state budget news.
The Revenue Department reported Friday that April revenues exceeded projections by $201 million, or about 5 percent. That pushes the surplus for the first nine months of the fiscal year to $569 million.  It's also about 7 percent more than tax collections a year ago.

For National Charter School Week: Philadelphia Charter Teachers Vote to Form Union
Diane Ravitch's Blog by dianeravitch May 1, 2015
National Charter School Week is May 3-9. The teachers at Olney Charter High School voted to form a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. That is a nice way to celebrate and to make sure that teachers have good working conditions. According to the AFT press release, this is the 120th charter school to go union. Only 5,880 to go.

Sponsored by Coatesville and Media Area NAACPs
9:00 AM – 1:30 PM SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2015
Our children have to pass the state mandated tests in order to move on with life. SO - it is time for the PA Assembly to provide adequate and equitable funding to the public schools of Pennsylvania.
Pre-Registration is required for meals. Deadline for Pre-registration is May 12, 2015

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

Common Core Forum: A Closer Look at the PA Core Standards
Thursday, May 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm Radnor Middle School
150 Louella Avenue, Wayne, 3rd floor
Presented by the Leagues of Women Voters of Chester County, Haverford,  Lower Merion, Narberth and Radnor.  Supported by the Radnor School District
Panelists Include:
Fred Brown, K-12 Math Supervisor, School District of Haverford Township
Jon Cetel, Education Reform Agent, PennCAN
Mary Beth Hegeman, Middle School Teacher, Lower Merion School District
Cynthia Kruse, Delaware County Intermediate Unit
Susan Newitt, Retired Elementary Teacher, Lower Merion School District
Wendy Towle, Supervisor of Language Arts & Staff Development, T/E School District
Larry Wittig, Chairman of the State Board of Education

PHILADELPHIA—The School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with local organizations, will host 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, May 6
Dobbins High School2150 W. Lehigh Ave.
 Tuesday, May 12
South Philadelphia High School2101 S. Broad St.
 Thursday, May 14
Congreso, 216 West Somerset St.
 Wednesday, May 20

Martin Luther King High School6100 Stenton Ave.

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