Monday, November 23, 2015

PA Ed Policy Roundup Nov 23: Property tax plan collapses, imperiling Pa. budget

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup November 23, 2015:
Property tax plan collapses, imperiling Pa. budget

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"Proponents of the current SPP system argue that it offers a clear numerical rating that holds all schools equally accountable for their efforts to imbue students with the skills needed to evidence mastery of the state's academic expectations.
Opponents argue that SPP's heavy emphasis on state tests blurs what could be a more nuanced portrait of school worth. They argue that SPP offers little but a codified way to shame schools with high concentrations of impoverished students with deep special-education needs.
A previous RFA report found that – even when analyzing growth measures – low SPP scores were strongly correlated to student poverty."
Research group calls for revisions to Pa. school quality index
Does Pennsylvania's school rating system make the grade?
In a recent brief, Research for Action argues that the state's School Performance Profile index leaves much to be desired.  Under former Gov. Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania Department of Education introduced the SPP scale in 2013 as a replacement for Adequate Yearly Progress. It scores every school on a 100-point scale using a metric reliant on state standardized tests for 90 percent of its tally.  Federal guidelines have mandated state accountability indices for schools for more than two decades. And 2001's No Child Left Behind calls for each state to publish an annual school report card.

"In a letter to his Democratic colleagues Saturday, House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D., Allegheny) said Republican leaders told Wolf late in the week that they could not muster the votes among their members to pass the property-tax plan."
Property tax plan collapses, imperiling Pa. budget
by Angela Couloumbis and Matthew Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writers Updated on NOVEMBER 23, 2015 — 1:08 AM EST
HARRISBURG - A historic plan to cut property taxes statewide teetered near collapse Sunday, imperiling with it the tentative budget deal struck this month by Gov. Wolf and leaders of the Republican-led legislature, according to officials familiar with the negotiations.
Without the property-tax reduction - a key plank in the $30 billion state spending plan - "the whole agreement fails," said one high-ranking Democratic official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.  Republicans acknowledged the new hurdle but strove to paint less of a doomsday scenario. "We are going to continue to work on the other segments of the agreement and hopefully bring it to closure," said Drew Crompton, the Senate's top Republican lawyer.  The budget framework outlined by Wolf and GOP leaders had called for a hike in the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7.25 percent. The $2 billion it would generate was expected to boost school funding and offset a reduction in property taxes - for decades the primary funding source for school districts. But neither side has released details about how the education funds will be distributed, the form of property-tax relief or other key concepts in their deal - reshaping the state's pension system and sales of wine and liquor.

Could a fight over who pays for public schools hurt a #PaBudget deal?
Penn Live By The Associated Press on November 22, 2015 at 4:38 PM
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Senate is juggling a long-simmering fight over who pays for public schools just as Gov. Tom Wolf and top lawmakers appear to be struggling to hold together the skeleton of a budget deal that's five months late.  There's head-scratching in the Capitol over why Senate Republican leaders chose this moment for the debate. For one thing, some privately worry it could further destabilize already wobbly efforts to negotiate and pass a package of budget-related legislation.  On Saturday night, top House Democrats informed rank-and-file members that Republicans had told Wolf, a Democrat, that there isn't enough GOP support for a state sales tax increase — from 6 percent to 7.25 percent — to generate $600 million to balance the budget and $1.4 billion in rebates for homeowners who pay school property taxes.  "We are assessing our options and examining whether there are any acceptable alternative revenue sources to balance the budget and provide property tax relief," they wrote in the email obtained by The Associated Press.

Pa. state budget talks showing renewed signs of stress, this time over property tax relief
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 21, 2015 at 7:34 PM, updated November 21, 2015 at 8:33 PM
Several Democratic and Republican sources told PennLive Saturday that the ambitious "framework" upon which the long-delayed Pennsylvania state budget was to be delivered is showing new signs of stress.  Publicly, it's important to note that no one was calling the deal dead as of Saturday evening.  "We're still meeting. Everyone is still meeting trying to get this done," said Steve Miskin, the spokesman for House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana County.  And late-stage budget negotiations are so notoriously fluid that it's not impossible that the foundations for a budget deal set out by Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders on Nov. 10 could still work.  But privately, sources in both parties said there are serious problems showing with the$2 billion school property tax relief plank that may cause it to be jettisoned from the larger budget package.

"It's a bad bill for a number of reasons. For one thing, it does not raise enough money to cover the entire bill of eliminating property taxes - in fact, it falls several billion dollars short. No one is saying where that money will come from.
For another, it gives a windfall tax break to businesses, who do pay property taxes but not income and sales tax. At the same time, the sales tax is regressive, increasing the tax burden on middle- and low-income people.
Finally, it cements the inequity in the way school subsidy money is doled out in the state - using a discredited formula that favors rich districts at the expense of poor ones."
Philly Daily News Editorial Updated on NOVEMBER 23, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
STORM CLOUDS are gathering in Harrisburg over the deal to settle the long state budget impasse.  While one group of legislators is still working with Gov. Wolf on hammering out the details of the $30.6 billion plan, another group has launched a maneuver that could kill the whole deal.  If that happens it will mean no state budget for the foreseeable future and almost certainly a shutdown of schools and social-service agencies across the state beginning in January - which is when they run out of time and money.  Instead of hashing out their problems with the existing budget, several conservative Republicans in the state Senate, along with a few Democrats, have taken a different tack and are pushing a bill that would eliminate local school property taxes.

Property taxes, pensions, smokes, schools and booze - 5 things we know about the #PaBudget
Penn Live By John L. Micek | Email the author | Follow on Twitter on November 20, 2015 at 8:30 AM, updated November 20, 2015 at 9:12 AM
Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
There's an old saying in Harrisburg about protracted talks on any important issue:  "Until everything's done, nothing's done."  And while we're still at least a few weeks away from a final deal on the long-delayed 2015-16 budget, a quick survey of the past week's political headlines reveals that the cosmic tumblers are slowly ticking into place.  Critically, the two sides  have reached agreement on what's typically referred to as the "Final Spend Number," or the bottom line total figure for the fiscal 2015-16 spending plan that's now five months late.  The number is $30.26 billion, or pretty much the bottom line of the budget that Wolf vetoed away back on June 30.  Let's review, shall we?

"But the greatest sticking point in the compromise agreement is a provision that would require any local school tax hike to be approved by voters. Originally introduced as Senate Bill 909 by Indiana County Republican Don White, the change would remove a school board’s ability to raise property taxes, even within the state-dictated index, without voter approval.
The provision comes with the misguided assumption that local school boards raise taxes for local costs they can control. The reality is that the largest and fastest-growing costs for school districts are charter-school tuition and mandated contributions to the state school employees’ pension fund.  Instead, the budget compromise paints local school boards in a corner, failing to provide enough state support to adequately fund education while telling taxpayers, “Hey, blame the local boards: They’re the ones raising your property tax.”
Editorial: Are Pennsylvania taxpayers being taken to school?
Delco Times POSTED: 11/21/15, 9:39 PM EST | UPDATED: 20 SECS AGO
For the past four and a half months, since the July 1 start of a new fiscal year, editorial boards have been urging Gov. Tom Wolf and state legislators to come up with a compromise that would produce agreement on a state budget.  The largest sticking point has been education funding and the need in Pennsylvania to shift some of that burden off the local property tax.  Now, it seems with a potential compromise agreement on the table, the folks in Harrisburg have missed the point. Instead of crafting a budget that will truly reform how public schools are funded, they are pitching a plan that shifts the onus for high property taxes without addressing the inequities or tax burden.

Schools decry giving voters a say on future tax hikes
By Eric Devlin, The Mercury , Evan Brandt, The Mercury and Laura Catalano, The Mercury
POSTED: 11/22/15
A possible provision in the pending state budget deal that would require any future local school tax hike to be approved by voters has raised a flurry of protest among school advocates and officials.  Locally, the subject is arising at school board meetings as administrators contemplate and describe what they say would be a disaster for school budgets and school programs.  Originally introduced as Senate Bill 909 by Indiana County Republican Don White, R-41st Dist., the change would remove a school board’s ability to raise property taxes, even within the state-dictated index, without voter approval.  With massive increases in mandated costs for pension and charter school tuition, even additional basic education funding from the state — which is by no means guaranteed from one year to the next — can’t make up for the revenue lost by freezing local property taxes, predicted David Nester, Pottsgrove School District’s business manager.

Pa. sales tax looks to climb; so does unfairness, critics say
by Matthew Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 22, 2015 — 1:09 AM EST
Pennsylvania soon might raise its statewide sales-tax rate to the second highest in the nation, a move that experts say would hit low-income residents the hardest while making local businesses less competitive with neighbors in Delaware and New Jersey.  And in Philadelphia, where a local sales tax is also imposed, the rate would be the second highest among America's 10 most populous cities.  A framework to end the months-long budget impasse between Gov. Wolf and Republican legislators in Harrisburg includes increasing the sales-tax rate - from 6 percent, to 7.25 percent - to raise $2 billion in new revenue. At least $400 million of that money would go to education. Some of the rest would also be applied to reducing property taxes across the state, although no details have emerged.  In Allegheny County and Philadelphia, where additional local sales taxes are imposed, the total rates would be 8.25 percent and 9.25 percent, respectively. Only Chicago, among the country's 10 most populous cities, would have a higher rate than Philadelphia.

SB76: Sexy But Flawed
PCCY website November 20, 2015
Extra, extra! Read all about it!  What a sexy headline: Pennsylvania eliminates burdensome property taxes, seniors and homeowners rejoice!  Stop the presses!
You need only scratch a half an inch below the surface to reveal the poisonous effect of this plan.  Senate Bill 76, which would shift the tax burden from property to personal income would generate an enormous windfall for businesses, which would be spared from paying property taxes.  Most frustrating and politically reckless though, is that running these bills is all but destroying the fragile budget agreement in place that would provide area schools a desperately needed injection of funding. Under the structure of the deal, which would end a 5-month-old budget stalemate, is an agreed to $350 million new investment in public education.  If this politically expedient bill to fully eliminate property taxes passes it will put that school funding at risk.  Yet here in the southeast this ill-advised bill has attracted several co-sponsors including Senators Rafferty, Mensch and Dinniman.  Here’s a look at what some school districts they represent stand to lose:

Taxpayer Relief Act at mercy of state budget actions
Trib Live By Patrick Cloonan Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, 4:46 a.m.
It is a law that was amended once since its enactment in 2006 — but could be altered or eliminated depending on what happens in budget negotiations in Harrisburg.  The Taxpayer Relief Act, or Act 1 as passed during the General Assembly's Special Session of 2006, provides an index for school districts to follow when enacting budgets.  “It set an index by which school districts could increase their millage rate,” McKeesport Area business manager David Seropian explained. “It is sort of a cost-of-living index.”  The limit set in the Act 1 index can't be exceeded without an exception granted by the Department of Education or voter approval — but tax referendums rarely have occurred across the state, and none have occurred in Allegheny County.
Act 1 first allowed 10 exceptions to the index limit, but a 2011 law reduced that to three — pensions, special education and indebtedness.

"Cincinnati, which is moving to an all-community schools model, credits the movement with boosting academic achievement and graduation rates.
Its model costs schools relatively little, about $65,000 per year per building, with funds usually coming from a mix of federal Title I money set aside for poor schools, and from other fund-raising. It's incumbent on the community organizations that provide the extras to make the model work financially, usually by billing Medicaid or through their own budgets."
Community Schools: In Ohio, a positive role model
by Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer Updated on NOVEMBER 22, 2015 — 3:01 AM EST
CINCINNATI - To Otis Hackney, it felt like a wonderland.
Inside Oyler Community Learning Center, a public school in a tough neighborhood here, were things the Philadelphia principal could only dream of.  There were vision, medical, and dental clinics. A food bank. A day-care center and a mental-health wing with five therapists. Volunteers trooped into the school routinely, part of a rotation of well-trained help that works one-on-one with Oyler's kids.  "I thought," the South Philadelphia High principal said later, "it was awesome."  Oyler is a "community school," a phrase about to become much more familiar in Philadelphia, where the mayor-elect has pledged to establish 25 of them in four years.  The idea is simple: Don't just teach kids in schools. Meet their basic needs, concentrating social, health, and other services inside as a way to better reach families, allowing educators to focus solely on instruction. The schools primarily serve students but offer resources to those in the neighborhood, too.

Lawmakers pledge to skip swanky Pennsylvania Society gala in NYC if budget deal not struck
Trib Live By Brad Bumsted Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, 10:50 p.m.
HARRISBURG — If there's no ironclad budget deal by the second week of December, many state legislative leaders and other lawmakers say they will skip the annual Pennsylvania Society gala in Manhattan, the premier political event for Pennsylvania politicians.  Lawmakers don't want to be spotted partying at swanky hotel receptions while schools and nonprofits struggle to stay afloat without state funding during a budget stalemate that reached its 146th day Monday. The New York City gala culminates with a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, this year honoring former Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell on Dec. 12.  Preschool centers run by small nonprofits have closed or are planning to do so shortly. Assistance programs that address issues including mental health, domestic violence and homelessness have been impacted by the impasse, but many are pursuing loans and grants.

With no state budget, Pennsylvania schools start to worry
WKBN By Matt Horn November 20, 2015, 4:51 pm  Updated: November 20, 2015, 7:31 pm
SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) – Pennsylvania state lawmakers have been arguing over the details of the state’s budget since late June.  And while they still have not come to an agreement, the state’s schools are facing growing fears about the future.  “Right now, I hate to say, do their job. We all have jobs to do and theirs is to get us funding and a budget,” Sharon City Schools Superintendent Michael Calla said.  Sharon City Schools, like many other districts in Mercer County have been depending on their rainy day funds and local taxes.  Calla says that money will only last his district through the end of December. The district has been approved for a loan but that will only last the district through early spring.

State budget impasse jeopardizing private school stipends
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette November 23, 2015 12:14 AM
As the state budget impasse continues, concerns are growing that tax credit programs that provide up to $150 million in scholarships for students in grades K-12 statewide could be eliminated this year.  That’s because the state Department of Community and Economic Development has not approved any of the corporate applications for tax credits to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program or the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program. The deadline for approvals is Dec. 31.  Cancellation of the programs would cost the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the largest local participant, $5 million and revoke the scholarships of 4,500 of its 18,000 students for the 2016-17 school year, said superintendent Michael Latusek.  The EITC has allowed schools to raise general scholarship money through business tax credits since 2001. The OSTC program, approved in 2012, provides scholarships for students in the attendance areas of the state’s lowest-performing schools to transfer to other public or private higher-performing schools.

Race, class, and standardized tests explained
the notebook By Dan Hardy on Nov 20, 2015 12:33 PM
The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming December-January edition.
What is the so-called achievement gap?
This gap manifests itself in test scores; in the vast majority of standardized tests, scores for African American and Latino students are, on average, significantly lower than scores for White and Asian students. Many object to calling it an “achievement” gap, citing vastly different resources available to students in different circumstances. The gap has shrunk over the last few decades, but is still wide and persistent, as is the gap in resources.
How large is the Black-White test score gap?
The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a national test often called “the nation’s report card.” This year, on reading and math tests, 43 percent of White 8th graders scored Proficient or above, compared to 13 percent of African Americans.  On the 2015 SAT taken for college admission, the combined score for Whites was 1576; for African Americans, it was 1277.  On the 2015 Pennsylvania Keystone exam in algebra, 57 percent of White Philadelphia 11th graders scored Proficient or advanced, while 30 percent of Blacks met that mark.

"If the state Department of Education would like to have a worthwhile way to measure a school district's success with its students, let's measure how well the schools help students achieve what they want to do after they finish high school. "
'Test' isn't always a four-letter word: Tod F. Kline
PennLive Op-Ed  By Tod F. Kline  on November 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM
Tod F. Kline is the Superintendent of Schools for the Susquehanna Twp. School District.
Recently, I have been reading some interesting commentary on PennLive about testing in our public schools.   Some pieces focused on results, and some on the effects of standardized testing on students.  Those articles lead me to weigh in on this topic.   As an educator with more than 30 years of experience, I believe this subject warrants a fair and close examination with a very open mind.  Well, at least, I think so.   There are two sides to this testing coin. A test is not necessarily a prohibitive four-letter word. 

Marathon Philly SRC meeting revolves around charter conversion proposals, renewals
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission hosted a marathon meeting Thursday night featuring a slate of nearly 70 public speakers. The bulk of the testimony showcased opposition to the district's proposal to convert three of its elementary schools into neighborhood-based charters.  Opponents started early. Before proceedings began, a coalition organized by the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools protested in the atrium of district headquarters, shouting, "Dr. Hite, we will fight," above the piped in classical music.  Jay Cooke Elementary Home and School Association President Deborah Azore said she didn't want to see the last traditional public school taken from her Logan neighborhood.  "You can't just do what you want and keep it all charter. What do we have for public? We have nothing," she said.
That sentiment was expressed by many of the speakers during a four hour SRC meeting.

Tired of ho-hum elections? Here's a few easy ways to boost voter turnout: Susan Carty
PennLive Op-Ed  By Susan Carty on November 20, 2015 at 2:00 PM, updated November 20, 2015 at 6:38 PM
Susan Carty is president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (and a former West Chester Area School Board member).
Pennsylvania has a long and treasured tradition of voting that stretches back before the American Revolution. But over the past 20 years, Pennsylvania's level of voter participation has slipped.
Fewer than a quarter of registered voters actually made it to the polls for the general election two weeks ago, through which we elected three new Justices to the state supreme court.  This participation rate is far below turnout levels in recent presidential years, but looking at turnout numbers across the board, it's clear we've seen fewer Pennsylvanians voting now than in previous eras.  A new voting-reform coalition is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to look to other states for examples of laws that make it easier for residents to participate in elections.

After 20 years, Roberta Marcus says good-bye to Parkland School Board
Margie Peterson Special to The Morning Call November 19,2015
In the summer of 1983, Roberta Marcus was asked to sign a petition advocating for smaller class sizes in the Parkland School District.  At the time, she was pregnant with her son David and her daughter Rachel was 3 years old. Marcus, who majored in political science in college, wanted to learn more so she started attending Parkland School Board meetings.  "I pretty much got addicted," Marcus recalled Tuesday when she presided over her final Parkland School Board meeting after 20 years on the board.  That addiction became her vocation and on Tuesday, school directors, educators and lawmakers paid tribute to the woman they knew as a fierce and tireless advocate for public education.  Marcus served as the president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association in 2010 and was the second recipient of the association's Timothy A. Allwein Advocacy Award in 2013.  Having chosen not to run for re-election this year, Tuesday was Marcus' last meeting and it was filled with emotional farewells.  Proclamations, plaques and other accolades came from representatives of the PSBA and the offices of state Sen. Pat Browne and state Rep. Gary Day. Browne's chief of staff, Ellen Kern, pointed out that in the proclamation for Marcus from the state Senate, "there are four whereas's -- one more than they gave the pope, I might add."  In a video shown at the meeting, U.S. Rep. Charles Dent of the Lehigh Valley talked about Marcus' "extraordinary leadership" on behalf of public education, for which she received no compensation.

Negotiators Come to Agreement on Revising No Child Left Behind Law
New York Times by MOTOKO RICH NOV. 19, 2015
Overcoming years of partisan bickering over the federal government’s role in public education, congressional negotiators came to an agreement on Thursday to revise the No Child Left Behind law for the first time since it was signed by President George W. Bush 14 years ago.  Although Democrats and Republicans agreed that the law — passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2001 — had become an albatross on schools that led to overly punitive stakes for standardized testing, Congress has for eight years been unable to come to an accord on replacing it.  A conference committee of members from the House and the Senate voted, 39 to 1, to approve the agreement on Thursday. The full bill will be made public within a week, and the House could consider it on the floor as early as the first week of December, with the Senate following.

Massachusetts drops Common Core, will develop own student evaluations
PBS Newshour November 22, 2015 at 6:00 PM EST Video Runtime 3:55
Massachusetts, a state considered a leader in education reform, decided last week to reject student tests based on federal Common Core standards--tests still used in many other states. Instead, the state will develop its own exams to measure student progress. New York Times reporter Kate Zernike joins Alison Stewart with more.  ALISON STEWART, PBS ANCHOR: The often contentious debate about national educational standards and testing kids has taken another twist in a state considered to be a leader in education reform.  Massachusetts last week decided to reject the tests based on federal Common Core standards, tests that are still used in many other states. Instead, the state of Massachusetts will develop its own exams to measure student progress.  New York Times reporter Kate Zernike is covering this story and joins me now. And Kate, what’s great about you is that you wrote for The Boston Globe for years. So, you have been covering this for a long time.

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.
New York Times By KATE ZERNIKE NOV. 21, 2015
BOSTON — It has been one of the most stubborn problems in education: With 50 states, 50 standards and 50 tests, how could anyone really know what American students were learning, or how well?  At a dinner with colleagues in 2009, Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts’s commissioner of education, hatched what seemed like an obvious answer — a national test based on the Common Core standards that almost every state had recently adopted.  Now Dr. Chester finds himself in the awkward position of walking away from the very test he helped create.  On his recommendation, the State Board of Education decided last week that Massachusetts would go it alone and abandon the multistate test in favor of one to be developed for just this state. The move will cost an extra year and unknown millions of dollars.

Washington State Supreme Court Will Not Reconsider Charter School Ruling
Education Week Charters & Choice By Arianna Prothero on November 20, 2015 8:00 AM
The Washington state Supreme Court has said it will not reconsider its September ruling that charter schools are unconstitutional.  Several groups, including the Washington State Charter School Association and the state's attorney general, had asked the court to reexamine its decision.  Nine charter schools opened while the state's charter school law was in legal limbo.  But this news out of Washington's high court doesn't appear to mark the end of the fight for the state's charter schools.

Urban Charter Schools Often Succeed. Suburban Ones Often Don’t.
New York Times By SUSAN DYNARSKI NOV. 20, 2015
Charter schools are controversial. But are they good for education?
Rigorous research suggests that the answer is yes for an important, underserved group: low-income, nonwhite students in urban areas. These children tend to do better if enrolled in charter schools instead of traditional public schools.  There are exceptions, of course. We can’t predict with certainty that a particular child will do better in a specific charter or traditional public school. Similarly, no doctor can honestly promise a patient she will benefit from a treatment.  Social scientists, like medical researchers, can confirm only whether, on average, a given treatment is beneficial for a given population. Not all charter schools are outstanding: In the suburbs, for example, the evidence is that they do no better than traditional public schools. But they have been shown to improve the education of disadvantaged children at scale, in multiple cities, over many years.

Stale Baloney About Charter Schools
The New York Times published an article today about the “success” of charter schools, especially for low-income black students. The article was written by Susan Dynarski of the University of Michigan.  It seems odd that anyone living in the state of Michigan could express enthusiasm for private management of public schools in light of the disastrous experience of that state. About 80% of the charters in Michigan operate for profit, a scandal in itself. The Detroit Free Press ran a weeklong series of articles last year about the failure of charters to be transparent, accountable, or better than public schools. The year-long investigation concluded that charters got worse results than traditional public schools, received $1 billion a year taken from public schools, and were not held accountable for waste, fraud, abuse, and poor outcomes.

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 11-20-15

PSBA New School Director Training
School boards who will welcome new directors after the election should plan to attend PSBA training to help everyone feel more confident right from the start. This one-day event is targeted to help members learn the basics of their new roles and responsibilities. Meet the friendly, knowledgeable PSBA team and bring everyone on your “team of 10” to get on the same page fast.
  • $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN PassNote: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
  • One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
  • Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
  • Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class
Nine locations for your convenience:
  • Philadelphia area — Nov. 21 William Tennent HS, Warminster (note: location changed from IU23 Norristown)
  • Pittsburgh area — Dec. 5 Allegheny IU3, Homestead
  • South Central PA and Erie areas (joint program)— Dec. 12 Northwest Tri-County IU5, Edinboro and PSBA, Mechanicsburg
  • Butler area — Jan. 9 Midwestern IU 4, Grove City (note: location changed from Penn State New Kensington)
  • Allentown area — Jan. 16 Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Schnecksville
  • Central PA — Jan. 30 Nittany Lion Inn, State College
  • Scranton area — Feb. 6 Abington Heights SD, Clarks Summit
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield

NSBA Advocacy Institute 2016; January 24 - 26 in Washington, D.C.
Housing and meeting registration is open for Advocacy Institute 2016.  The theme, “Election Year Politics & Public Schools,” celebrates the exciting year ahead for school board advocacy.  Strong legislative programming will be paramount at this year’s conference in January.  Visit for more information.

PASBO 61st Annual Conference and Exhibits March 8 - 11, 2016
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

The Network for Public Education 3rd Annual National Conference April 16-17, 2016 Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Network for Public Education is thrilled to announce the location for our 3rd Annual National Conference. On April 16 and 17, 2016 public education advocates from across the country will gather in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We chose Raleigh to highlight the tremendous activist movement that is flourishing in North Carolina. No one exemplifies that movement better than the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who will be the conference keynote speaker. Rev. Barber is the current president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the National NAACP chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee, and the founder of Moral Mondays.

Interested in letting our elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax, property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf, (717) 787-2500

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377

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