Friday, July 3, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup for July 3, 2015: Brush up on your knowledge of school funding in Pa.

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup for July 3, 2015:
Brush up on your knowledge of school funding in Pa.

“As we head into the July 4th weekend, why not take some time to brush up on the ABCs and XYZs of education funding in Pennsylvania? Below are 14 pieces, most including a podcast, that NewsWorks and the Notebook put together for Multiple Choices, a series that explains the major aspects of the state's complex, puzzling, and unequal education funding system.”
Brush up on your knowledge of school funding in Pa.
By the Notebook on Jul 2, 2015 01:50 PM
The ongoing budget stalemate in Harrisburg has left school districts across Pennsylvania in the dark about how much state money they'll be getting.  With a new governor, a new proposed funding formula, and constant disagreement about how schools should be funded, lots of changes are afoot in Pennsylvania's education system. 

Philly Mayor, Council, PFT, District, charters join in asking state for new funds
the notebook By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 2, 2015 05:10 PM
Putting aside their usual bickering over what the School District deserves and how it spends its money, the city's key education players sent a joint letter to the Philadelphia legislative delegation Thursday "in unified support of restoring critically needed state funds" that will benefit students.   The letter urges the legislature to increase statewide basic education funding by $410 million next year and allocate it in a way that would restore cuts made to districts since 2011. That would result in $159 million in additional funds to Philadelphia for this fiscal year.  It calls upon the legislature to then adopt the education aid distribution formula advocated by the legislature's Basic Education Funding Commission.  The letter is signed by Mayor Nutter, Council President Darrell Clarke, School Reform Commission chair Marjorie Neff, Superintendent William Hite, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, and Amy Ruck Kagan, executive director of Philadelphia Charters for Excellence. 

“In addition to the extra money, the Philadelphia officials asked Harrisburg leaders to ensure that the formula proposed by the state's Basic Education Funding Commission does not kick in until the 2016-17 school year. Were it put into place for the coming year, Philadelphia would be out tens of millions.  Officials argue that before the funding formula is enacted, the state needs to take care of districts like Philadelphia that were hit disproportionately hard by funding cuts under Gov. Tom Corbett.”
City to Harrisburg: Give schools more money
KRISTEN A. GRAHAM, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER LAST UPDATED: Friday, July 3, 2015, 1:08 AM POSTED: Thursday, July 2, 2015, 4:16 PM
Speaking with one voice, Philadelphia's mayor, City Council president, school superintendent, School Reform Commission chairwoman, and teachers' union president, and the head of a key charter school group, have told Harrisburg: Give the city schools $159 million.  The rare show of unity came in a letter sent to the Philadelphia delegation to the state legislature, chaired by Sen. Shirley Kitchen and Rep. Cherelle L. Parker.  Gov. Wolf this week vetoed a $30.1 billion budget passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. That spending plan would have added just $8 million in new school funding, not the $410 million the governor wants.  Much is at stake for the Philadelphia School District, which asked for $159 million in new funds from Harrisburg. City Council has come up with $70 million in new money for the schools, but the district has an $88 million gap to cover.

It's time to unite for the future of Pa.'s students: Cherelle L. Parker
 PennLive Op-Ed  By Cherelle L. Parker on July 02, 2015 at 2:00 PM
State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, a Democrat,represents the 200th Legislative District in Philadelphia.
Former Gov. Tom Corbett's Budget Secretary, Charles Zogby, put Pennsylvania's fiscal 2015-16 budget in perspective not long before Gov. Tom Wolf took office:
"Barring major changes, only a tax hike or deeper cuts will bail out the state. We've hit the wall in terms of what people in this building are willing to cut. Folks are in for a reality check." (Official: 'Reality Check' looms for Pa. budget, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 5, 2014)
His assessment was right on the money.  Members of the Philadelphia Delegation call for legislators on both sides of the aisle to stand with us, as we ardently advocate for funding an education system that our children deserve.  Pennsylvanians affirmed their support for restoration of deep state cuts to public education and for meaningful reductions in local property and business taxes when they elected Wolf governor.

Here's why I voted 'No' on a bad #Pabudget: Madeleine Dean
PennLive Op-Ed  By Madeleine Dean on July 02, 2015 at 1:00 PM
State Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat, represents the 153rd House District in Montgomery County.
On March 3 of this year, Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled a budget to take bold steps to get Pennsylvania moving in the right direction with significant changes to education funding, minimum wage, and new tax structures to create a balanced and sustainable budget.  Instead of considering the governor's budget, however, this past Saturday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a partisan budget clearly stating their priorities.  The state Senate followed suit on Tuesday, sending the bill to Gov. Tom Wolf, who has since vetoed it.  I am grateful to majority Republicans for this $30.2 billion proposal because it made my job clear.  I am thankful for this inadequate, anemic, artifice of a budget because it has made it easy to say "No," to reject a budget that looks in the rearview mirror, a budget that repeats gimmicks of the past. 

ep. Bloom tired of Gov. Wolf's 'confrontational budget brinksmanship': PennLive letters
Penn Live Letters to the Editor  by REP. STEPHEN BLOOM, R-North Middleton Twp. on July 02, 2015 at 8:10 AM, updated July 02, 2015 at 8:11 AM
During the past months, I worked hard to help craft a responsible, balanced, on-time state budget with no tax hikes – a plan that meets core needs, and raises our investment in education and critical services.  Sadly, the governor announced his veto of the budget, refusing to see it for what it is – a fair, reasonable plan that reflects the needs of Pennsylvanians. In his stubborn demand for higher taxes and state spending, the governor also signaled his veto of related bills to help schools receive urgently needed reimbursements and more equitable funding.  We also passed landmark reforms to the state's pension and liquor systems – designed to save taxpayers billions and generate needed revenue. The fate of these reforms rests with the governor, although he has threatened to veto these too.  To say I am disappointed with the governor's confrontational budget brinksmanship is an understatement. Our job is to solve problems and put Pennsylvania on a successful path. These bills would do that.

So who's to blame for Budget Impasse 2015? Well, everyone, of course: Thursday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on July 02, 2015 at 8:43 AM
Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
So if there's one question we've been asked in the 24 hours or so since Gov. Tom Wolf figuratively drew a giant, red "X" over the $30.2 billion spending plan that the Republican-controlled General Assembly sent him on Tuesday, it's this one: "Who's to blame for Budget Impasse 2015?"  The answer is, of course, both sides.  While it keeps government funded, the GOPsent the York Democrat a budget they knew he was going to veto. And no Tuesday night newser calling on Wolf to sign the plan and declare victory was going to change that.  Credit the GOP for this much - they tried to get ahead of the narrative. And they did it by a whisker. Barely 10 minutes after their last words had echoed through the Capitol media center, Wolf did what everyone figured he was going to do anyway.

Wolf vetoes bills on liquor privatization, school funding
Morning Call By Mark Scolforo Of The Associated Press July 2, 2015
HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday vetoed a Republican-backed bill to privatize the state-controlled sales of wine and liquor as well as two budget-related bills, two days after he rejected the main budget bill.  Wolf, a Democrat in his first year, said in a news release that selling off the liquor system is not a good business decision.  "We can support and bolster consumer convenience without selling an asset and risking higher prices and less selection for consumers," Wolf said. "I am open to options for expanding the availability of wine and beer in more locations, including supermarkets."  He also vetoed a public schools bill that contained a new formula to distribute state aid to districts, and a bill that guides how money from the budget is spent. All three bills passed the Legislature without a single "yes" vote from a Democrat, as did the main budget bill he vetoed late Tuesday night.

Friday Happy Hour: Anyone, Anyone? Edition
The Triadvocate THURSDAY, JULY 02, 2015
One did not need to possess the divine and borderline mystical powers of Carnac the Magnificent, famous sage and seer, to predict this outcome: Democrat Tom Wolf campaigns on shale extraction tax, increased education funding and property tax relief. On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers give him a budget with anything but. Wolf, now governor, vetoes the whole shebang before the ink is dry. Each side blames the other, and another budget “deadline” passes without a spending agreement.  Wolf invited legislative leaders to meet the next day to begin the process of reconciling his proposed budget with that of the General Assembly. They emerged after 30 minutes with no resolution, but assurances from the governor that “there was mutual respect” and that “the arms are unfolded.” His remarks and those of Majority Leader Dave Reed, if not conciliatory, were at least not incendiary. 

“And though he was eligible for a performance bonus, Hite declined one, citing the Philadelphia School District's dire financial straits.”
Hite receives positive performance evaluation
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has gotten his report card: solid, but not straight A's.
And though he was eligible for a performance bonus, Hite declined one, citing the Philadelphia School District's dire financial straits.  The city schools leader was evaluated by the School Reform Commission in six areas: student growth and achievement; systems leadership; district operations and financial management; communication and community relations; human resources management; and professionalism.  Hite was judged "proficient" in all areas but one, operations and financial management. He earned the highest rating, "distinguished," on that score. Four ranks were possible, including "needs improvement" and "failing."

DN Editorial: Slouching toward 'shutdown': Can Wolfe and the GOP find common budget ground?
Philly Daily News Editorial POSTED: Friday, July 3, 2015, 12:16 AM
AS EXPECTED, Gov. Wolf this week vetoed the $30.2 billion budget passed by legislative Republicans, saying that it was filled with "gimmicks . . . smoke and mirrors and a lot of kick the can down the road."  That is a long string of clichés, but the governor was right.  The Republican budget balanced on paper, but did so by shortchanging public education and pillaging various state funds that were supposed to be dedicated to such things as school construction and child-welfare payments.  Come to think of it, the budget the Republicans sent Wolf this week very much resembled the ones they cobbled together during the Corbett administration, using the same devices. Republican leaders said that the virtue of their budget bill was that it passed before the fiscal year ended on June 30.

Register Now – PAESSP State Conference – Oct. 18-20 – State College, PA
Registration is now open for PAESSP's State Conference to be held October 18-20 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, PA! This year's theme is @EVERYLEADER and features three nationally-known keynote speakers (Dr. James Stronge, Justin Baeder and Dr. Mike Schmoker), professional breakout sessions, a legal update, exhibits, Tech Learning Labs and many opportunities to network with your colleagues (Monday evening event with Jay Paterno).  Once again, in conjunction with its conference, PAESSP will offer two 30-hour Act 45 PIL-approved programs, Linking Student Learning to Teacher Supervision and Evaluation (pre-conference offering on 10/17/15); and Improving Student Learning Through Research-Based Practices: The Power of an Effective Principal (held during the conference, 10/18/15 -10/20/15). Register for either or both PIL programs when you register for the Full Conference!
REGISTER TODAY for the Conference and Act 45 PIL program/s at:

Apply now for EPLC’s 2015-2016 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program
Applications are available now for the 2015-2016 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).  With more than 400 graduates in its first sixteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.  Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, charter school leaders, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders.  Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.  The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 17-18, 2015 and continues to graduation in June 2016.
Click here to read about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

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Our goal is to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where they live. To make that happen, we need to fundamentally change how public schools are funded. The current system is not fair to students or taxpayers and our campaign partners – more than 50 organizations from across Pennsylvania - agree that it has to be changed now. Student performance is stagnating. School districts are in crisis. Lawmakers have the ability to change this formula but they need to hear from you. You can make a difference »

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