Thursday, January 28, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Jan 28: What kind of impact could the Waltons have on kids if they spent a billion on early reading instead of charters?

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup January 28, 2016:
What kind of impact could the Waltons have on kids if they spent a billion on early reading instead of charters?

Day 211: Budget?  With the governor’s budget address slated for Feb. 9th, both chambers of the General Assembly have recessed until Feb. 8th
Almost 900 tweeps now get their daily PA ed policy fix following @lfeinberg on twitter; how about you?


PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Southeastern Region Forum Series" Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Networking and Coffee - 9:30 a.m.  Program - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Penn Center for Educational Leadership (5th Floor)
University of Pennsylvania - 3440 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
RSVP for Southeastern Forum on-line at



EPLC PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Capital Region Forum Series" Thursday, February 11, 2016
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Harrisburg Hilton Hotel - Two North Second Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
RSVP for Harrisburg Forum on-line at 



"The way forward, according to Rep. Reed and the House Republican caucus seems to having a final year spend plan that is around the $30.2 billion number that Gov. Wolf partially vetoed back in late December.  “I understand that’s not ideal from the governor’s perspective, but we’ll hold pension reform and liquor reform and make that part of next year’s discussion as well, but let’s just finish up this last ten percent of the budget and we’ll move on to other issues,” he said.  Legislative Democratic leadership expressed concern about moving forward in that direction, particularly given an recent report by the Independent Fiscal Office stating the Commonwealth will have a nearly $460 million deficit in the current fiscal year at those spending levels and an over $2 billion deficit for FY 2016-2017."
Resumption of five-party budget negotiations leaves little insight as to way forward
The PLS Reporter Author: Jason Gottesman/Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders from the four legislative caucuses gathered in the governor’s office Wednesday for what seems to be a rarity these days: five-party budget negotiations.  The goal of the meeting was reportedly to find a way forward on how to finish the FY 2015-2016 budget.  While some may see it as a positive advance that the parties are sitting down together at all, Wednesday’s meeting left little in terms of real progress in finding a path forward on finishing the current fiscal year’s spending plan with both sides still at odds over what a final spend number should look like.  “I think we amplified our desire to finish the 15-16 budget, the last 13 percent, and then we can move on to fighting a lot of these battles in the next year ahead, but let’s get the final money out to the schools and the prisons and the nursing homes and we can move forward with all the other items that folks want to have on the table,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf, legislative leaders meet with new focus on finishing budget, tabling contentious side issues
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 27, 2016 at 7:00 PM, updated January 27, 2016 at 11:03 PM
Remember that incomplete state budget?
Pennsylvania's Republican legislative leaders proposed a new way to try to tie it off Wednesday, hopefully before Gov. Tom Wolf launches debate on his 2016-17 proposal, which is now scheduled for a Feb. 9 unveiling.  Their new template is to finalize the incomplete line items - such as school funding levels, funding for legislative operations and aid to Penn State, Pitt and Temple - without any increase in the sales or personal income tax rates.  Wolf vetoed or amended those and other appropriations on Dec. 29 in order to force the Republicans who dominate the General Assembly back to the bargaining table for further negotiations on his priorities, which the governor felt were left under-funded.  In exchange for leaving the state's broad-based taxes alone now, the Republicans would drop any immediate insistence on public employee pension reform or liquor privatization.  They would reserve the right to get back to those issues even later this year.
"Let's just finish up this last 10 percent of the budget and then we'll move on the other issues," said House Majority Leader David Reed, a Republican from Indiana County.

VIDEO: Senator Minority Leader Costa gives budget discussion update
The PLS Reporter Author: Alanna Koll/Wednesday, January 27, 2016/ Runtime 3:01
After a meeting with Gov. Wolf, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) gives a budget update. 

VIDEO: House Minority Leader Dermody: "Let’s get a budget this year and one next year"
The PLS Reporter Author: Alanna Koll/Wednesday, January 27, 2016 Runtime 1:45
House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) gives a budget update after a meeting with Gov. Wolf. 

F&M Poll: PA Voters disgusted
Times Tribune BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK Published: January 28, 2016
A recent poll showed that many Pennsylvania voters are disgusted with the state government and politicians in general. The majority of the blame goes to the General Assembly, but there was disappointment with Gov. Tom Wolf, too.  Voters are disgusted with state government and politicians in general, according to a new poll released Wednesday to The Times-Tribune.  More voters believe Pennsylvania is on the wrong track than in any public poll released in more than two decades, according to the new Franklin & Marshall College poll. Voters blame the state General Assembly more than Gov. Tom Wolf, but solid majorities disapprove of Mr. Wolf’s and the assembly’s job performance and believe government and politicians are the biggest problem facing the state, the poll found.  G. Terry Madonna, Ph.D., the poll’s director, said the findings represent voters’ distaste for what they perceive as widespread dysfunction at all levels of state government.

"If there's any positive for the Democratic governor, who just completed his own first year in office and has three more years to work with, it would be that he's not the only one voters appear to be frustrated with.  Asked who is most to blame for the ongoing budget stalemate, the Republican-controlled Legislature or the Democratic governor, 52 percent of respondents selected the Legislature to just 32 percent for Wolf.  And, a whopping 80 percent of respondents said rated the Legislature's work as "fair" or "poor," as compared to just 15 percent saying "excellent" or "good."
Worst budget impasse ever? Worst performance review ever for Gov. Tom Wolf, too
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 28, 2016 at 4:30 AM, updated January 28, 2016 at 4:31 AM
It figures when you think about it.  Get your state involved in the longest budget impasse in at least 45 years, and its probably going to leave a mark on your favorables.  That's what Gov. Tom Wolf and his political advisors will see when he peruses the results of a new Franklin & Marshall College poll released Thursday morning.  The results, courtesy of 732 Pennsylvania registered voters sampled from Jan. 18-24, show that only 33 percent of respondents have Wolf doing an "excellent" (5) or "good" (28) job, down from 36 percent in October, and 39 percent in August.  That is, for those keeping score, trending lower than Wolf's predecessors Tom Ridge, Ed Rendell and Tom Corbett at this point in their first terms. (The poll has rated first-year governors' since Ridge's election in 1994.)  In addition, the January poll shows the number of respondents who feel their state is headed on "the wrong track" spiking to a record 67 percent, as opposed to 21 percent saying "right track."

"The Franklin & Marshall poll says that two-thirds of Pennsylvanians think the state is on the wrong track, the highest share since January 2010. Thirty-eight percent of voters deem state government and politicians as the No. 1 problem facing Pennsylvania.  Madonna said such discontent sat at 17 percent in June, before the budget impasse. Back then, people were more concerned about education and unemployment, with each issue being identified by 18 percent of voters as the state's No. 1 problem."
Pennsylvania voters register disgust with Harrisburg antics in poll
Trib Live BY TOM FONTAINE  | Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016
Nine months ago, Pennsylvania's registered voters felt more optimistic about the state's future than they had in five years.  Now, according to a poll released Thursday, they are more discouraged about the state's direction than they have been in at least six years. More than four out of five voters think state government needs to be reformed, starting with the Legislature, the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows.  “Scandal and dysfunction have touched every branch of our government,” said pollster G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall's Center for Politics and Public Affairs.  State legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf are seven months overdue in finishing a budget. Attorney General Kathleen Kane's law license is suspended as she faces perjury and other charges, while former Treasurer Rob McCord awaits sentencing on extortion charges. Over the past two years, one Supreme Court justice went to prison and two others became embroiled in email scandals.

"Pension costs alone are expected to increase $1.2 billion above current levels."
Updated: Independent Fiscal Office: State Income To Increase 3.3%, Costs 4.5% Annually
PA Capitol Digest by Crisci Associates January 28, 2016
The Independent Fiscal Office released its economic outlook and state revenue forecast on Wednesday adding more bad news to the state’s budget situation.  State revenues under the current structure will increase only 3.3 percent a year from FY 2015-16 to FY 2020-21, while expenditures will increase by 4.5 percent annually.  The main cost drivers everyone knows-- pension contributions and healthcare will drive costs as well as a 31.5 percent increase in the number of residents 65 and over in Pennsylvania.  At the same time, the number of residents age 20 to 64, the main labor force, will contract by 2.9 percent.

Senate passes proposed constitutional amendment to cut House size by 50 members
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on January 27, 2016 at 2:27 PM, updated January 27, 2016 at 5:06 PM
* This post was updated to include House Majority Leader Dave Reed's comment.
Legislation that would give voters the chance to decide whether to reduce the size of the 203-member state House of Representative by 50 seats passed the Senate on Wednesday.
The measure, which was approved by a 43-6 vote, would have the reduction likely take effect for the first time during the 2022 election cycle.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Knowles, R-Tamaqua, passed the House most recently in May by a 139-56 vote.  Because it is a proposed amendment to the state constitution, an identical bill must now pass both chambers in the 2017-18 legislative session before it could be placed on ballot.  The measure would not alter the size of the 50-member Senate, which has dealt a death blow to similar efforts to shrink the General Assembly's size in the past two  legislative sessions.

PBPC: THE TOP FIVE FACTS ABOUT DRILLING AND TAXES IN PENNSYLVANIA
Facebook Post Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center January 27, 2016
While gas drillers in PA succeeded in keeping a long-overdue severance tax off the table in 2015, media reports confirm that Gov Wolf will again call for a tax on gas drilling in his 2016-17 budget address. Much of the industry’s lobbying money -- $46.8 million from 2007 to 2014 -- has gone into manufacturing a narrative, built on a foundation of myths, about the economic benefits of drilling & the fragility of the industry. As a result, PA is still the ONLY major gas-producing state without such a tax. PBPC has sifted through the drillers myths & spin to make public the FACTS about the gas drilling industry & the proposals to make them pay their fair share in PA.

"While many hoped that new legislation would bring a reduction to student testing, the new law tinkers with high-stakes assessment rather than dramatically changing it.  The main changes have occurred in the smaller policies passed as part of the massive legislation, including the promise of early childhood funding and the potential for lower-quality teacher preparation.  Missing from the bill are efforts to address the larger issues of education policy, including how to improve the equity of school funding and to address the growing segregation of our schools."
No Child Left Behind's replacement isn't much of a replacement: Dana Mitra
PennLive Op-Ed  By Dana Mitra  on January 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM, updated January 27, 2016 at 8:03 PM
Dana Mitra is an associate professor of education in the Educational Theory and Policy program and co-director of the Center for the Study of Leadership and Ethics at Penn State University.
Move over, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) — the federal law that introduced yearly high-stakes testing to schools nationwide.   Several years overdue, the federal education act was finally reauthorized late last year in a new version of legislation — Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  This bill replaces NCLB as well as  President Barack Obama's Race to the Top and NCLB waiver programs.  The main headline, however, is that this new piece of legislation won't feel different to most families.  The testing era continues for our children, much to the dismay of many. Students still must take mandatory tests every year in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.  Most children with special needs will still take the tests with no accommodations, regardless of their learning needs.

"The pension fund will see a $4.5 million increase while the charter school tuition will go up $600,000."
No state budget forces WCASD to call for large tax increase
Daily Local By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com, @CMonhollanDLN on Twitter POSTED: 01/27/16, 11:52 AM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
WEST GOSHEN >> School may not have been in session on Monday, but the school board members of the West Chester Area School District were still doing their duties with the unanimous approval of the 2016-17 preliminary budget.  At this early stage, the preliminary budget has an $11.6 million increase over the current budget and is anticipating a tax increase of 4.1 percent, which would be a rough increase of $154 per household in Chester County.  “The largest percent increase in retirement, special education and charter school tuitions,” said Chris McCune, a member of the school board. “The PSERS employer contribution rate has now increased to an all-time high of 30.03 percent of payroll, resulting in a 19.6 increase in retirement expense next year.”  Unfortunately for the district, many guesses have had to be made due to the budget impasse still going on in the state.  “There is no state budget for this current year,” said Superintendent Jim Scanlon. “We’re making assumptions in this budget that we are getting the same funding for the 2014-15 year. We still don’t know what our final funding is going to be. If the state does not finish its budget, we have a $3.5 million hole in the current budget that rolls into next year and that hole becomes double because we’ve got to find it this year and we have to find it again next year. We’re still not out of the woods with what’s happening out in Harrisburg.”

"In his budget presentation at the Jan. 19 board work session, Business Manager Chris Wilson said the net annual PSERS increase will be $1.2 million, to a total of $7.2 million, half of which is reimbursed by the commonwealth. The district is using about $850,000 of a committed fund balance towards pension costs."
Garnet Valley budget calls for tax increase
Delco Times by Sue Serbin POSTED: 01/27/16, 8:36 PM EST 
CONCORD >> Taxes are going up in Garnet Valley. The Garnet Valley School Board approved the 2016-17 preliminary general fund budget of just under $101 million. The figure represents a $4.45 million increase, or 4.6 percent, in expenditures, and calls for a property tax increase of 3.12 percent at present.  “The district intends to work over the next several months to identify additional revenue opportunities and expense reductions before the final budget is adopted in June,” the board and administration stated.  The property tax millage required for Concord and Chester Heights would be 31.2542, a $94.51 increase over the current year. This equates to $3,125.42 per $1,000 of assessed value. Owing to participation in Delaware County Community College, Bethel taxes would be 31.6370 mills, a $99.33 increase over 2015-16.

"According to budget figures, there will be a $2,032,270 increase in employee benefits. That can be attributed largely to hikes in the state-mandated Public School Employee Retirement System (PSERS) costs.  “PSERS is a big piece of this,” Finnegan said, noting that the district has no control over the employer-contribution rate, which is now above 30 percent."
Kennett Consolidated SD unveils $82.2 million preliminary budget
Chester County Press  01/12/2016 01:37PM, Published by Steven Hoffman
The Kennett School Board approved the release of a preliminary budget for the 2016-2017 school year at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 11.  The $82,248,395 spending plan will continue to be revised in the coming months as district officials look for ways to reduce expenditures and factor in other changes in revenue sources.  “It's been an interesting year without a state budget,” explained board member Michael Finnegan, who serves on the district's finance committee. Finnegan and district business administrator Mark Tracy led the budget presentation.  Overall, spending is increasing by $3,351,076 year-to-year. The rising costs for employee benefits is responsible for more than half of the increase.

Tax increase planned in Wallingford-Swarthmore
Delco Times By Neil A. Sheehan, Times Correspondent POSTED: 01/27/16, 8:35 PM EST
NETHER PROVIDENCE >> An initial hurdle has been cleared for the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District’s Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget.  The school board, at its most recent meeting, voted 8-1 in favor of the $77.6-million budget, which is currently in preliminary form and still needs two additional board approvals. Robert Reiger cast the vote against the spending plan.  Under the budget, taxes would increase by 3.9 percent. But district Business Administrator Lisa Palmer cautioned that the administration hopes to reduce that rate prior to the board’s decision on a final package on June 13  If the tax hike were to remain unchanged, it would translate into an additional $290 in school taxes for a home assessed at the district average of $179,000. That would be on top of the current school tax bill of $7,730 per year.  Reiger said more needed to be done to trim costs and thereby lower the tax increase. He cited a reduction of $1.1 million in expenses ordered last year by the administration and said growing expenses could lead to a tax burden that is increasingly difficult for property owners to handle.


Here Are All the Links on ESSA Series: Ask Your Own Questions
Diane Ravitch's Blog by dianeravitch
The series about the new Every Student Succeeds Act is concluded. I want to thank Senator Lamar Alexander and his staff, especially David P. Cleary, chief of staff, for responding to my questions. I know that readers have additional questions or want clarifications of some of the statements. The new law is the result of negotiations between the two parties. Questions will inevitably arise as the new law is implemented. Meanwhile, feel free to submit your questions and you can be sure that Senator Alexander's staff will answer them as best they can. Let me add that there are things in this law I like, and things I don't like. I will spell those out in a separate post.
Here are the links to each of the posts written by Senator Lamar Alexander's staff.

Pennsylvania was ranked 13th highest at $13,445 per student.
Spending in nation’s schools falls again, with wide variation across states
Washington Post By Emma Brown January 27 at 12:01 AM  
The nation’s per-pupil spending on K-12 public schools dropped in 2013 for the third year in a row, reversing more than a decade of funding increases, according to federal data released Wednesday.  Spending continued to vary widely across the country, from a low of $6,432 per student in Utah to a high of $20,530 per student in the District of Columbia. The biggest spenders were largely clustered in the Northeast, while the lowest were in the West and Southeast.  The national average was $10,763, down 0.6 percent compared with 2012, adjusting for inflation.  That decline was less dramatic than the 3 percent drop the year before, but it shows that, in many places, funding for public education has not rebounded as the economy recovered from the Great Recession.

Blogger comment: There seems to be consensus among educators on the critical importance of reading on grade level early on.  I can't help wondering what kind of impact the Walton's could have if they spent a billion on early reading instead of charter schools (see below).
Reading before 4th grade is critical, and educators can make it happen
the notebook Commentary by Diane Reott and Monica McHale-Small January 27 — 12:44pm
Perhaps no goal for public schools is more important than ensuring that students are reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade predicts 8th-grade reading proficiency. Children who are below grade level in 3rd grade tend to be below grade level in 8th grade.  Eighth-grade reading skills are essential for strong performance in critical gateway courses such as algebra, and success in algebra is an extraordinarily good predictor of graduating on time from high school and successfully pursuing postsecondary education.  If there is to be a single focus for public schools, wouldn’t it be doing everything possible to ensure that all students are reading on grade level before they enter 4th grade?  On the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federally sponsored standardized test, 86 percent of 4th-grade Philadelphia public school students scored below proficient. Below-proficient reading in 4th grade tends to increase the likelihood that a child will be identified as eligible to receive special education services. Unfortunately, reading outcomes for students in special education lag behind those for the overall population.

The Walton Family Foundation — which says it has given some $1.3 billion in K-12 education across the country over the last two decades, largely to support charter schools and fuel the “school choice” movement — announced this month that it is committing $1 billion over the next five years to help expand charter and other school choice options across the country. That includes money in the District, where the foundation has been funding charters and school vouchers for years.  The foundation says that since 1997, it has invested “more than $385 million in 2,110 new public charter schools — about a quarter of all charters nationally,” and that in 2015 alone, it supported 100 new charters with more than $20 million in grants. That’s 20 percent of the charters that opened across the country last year.
Walton family steps up support for school choice with $1 billion pledge
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss January 27 at 1:03 PM  
Walmart made business news this month when it announced that it is closing 269 stores this year and will no longer build two superstores it had promised to build in D.C. to serve some of its poorest residents, infuriating city officials. Why? This Washington Post story explains:
The giant retailer cited increasing costs for the new projects and disappointing performance at the three D.C. stores it opened over the past several years. But news that Walmart would pull out of two supercenters planned for east of the Anacostia River, where its wares and jobs are wanted most, shocked D.C. leaders. In one case, the city had already committed $90 million to make a development surrounding one of the stores viable. “I’m blood mad,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said.”  Yet the Walton family, whose members are the principal owners of Walmart stock, certainly like spending money in the District on one favored project: school choice.

New York Will Shed Clock for Some Statewide Tests
New York Times By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS JAN. 27, 2016
Statewide exams given to third- through eighth-grade students in New York will no longer be timed, the State Education Department said on Wednesday, ending the call of “pencils down.”  The tests, given in English and math, have become a source of contention in recent years. Department officials said the move was meant to ease concerns raised by teachers, administrators and parents.  MaryEllen Elia, the state education commissioner, described the change at a legislative hearing in Albany on Wednesday. A memo outlining the plan was sent to district superintendents, principals and charter school leaders later in the day.  “This change will provide students further opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do by allowing them to work at their own pace,” Angelica Infante, a deputy education commissioner, and Peter Swerdzewski, an assistant commissioner, wrote.


PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Southeastern Region Forum Series"Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Networking and Coffee - 9:30 a.m. Program - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Penn Center for Educational Leadership (5th Floor)
University of Pennsylvania - 3440 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director, Education Law Center
Dr. George Steinhoff, Superintendent, Penn Delco School District
One or more representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
RSVP for Southeastern Forum on-line at

EPLC PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Capital Region Forum Series" Thursday, February 11, 2016
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Harrisburg Hilton Hotel - Two North Second Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director, Lancaster-Lebanon IU #13
Thomas Gluck, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units
Representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.
RSVP for Harrisburg Forum on-line at 

PSBA New School Director Training Remaining Locations:
  • Central PA — Jan. 30 Nittany Lion Inn, State College
  • Delaware Co. IU 25 — Feb. 1
  • Scranton area — Feb. 6 Abington Heights SD, Clarks Summit
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield
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

Save the Dates for These 2016 Annual EPLC Regional State Budget Education Policy Forums
Sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Thursday, February 11 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Harrisburg
Wednesday, February 17 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania)
Thursday, February 25 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Pittsburgh
Invitation and more details in January

Attend the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia February 26-28
United Opt Out: The Movement to End Corporate Reform will hold its annual conference on Philadelphia from February 26-28.

Save the Date | PBPC Budget Summit March 3rd
Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
The 2015-2016 budget remains in a state of limbo. But it's time to start thinking about the 2016-17 budget. The Governor will propose his budget for next year in early February.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will hold our annual Budget Summit on March 3rd. Save the date and join us for an in-depth look at the Governor's 2016-17 budget proposal, including what it means for education, health and human services, the environment and local communities.  And, of course, if the 2015-2016 budget is not complete by then, we will also be talking about the various alternatives still under consideration.
As in year's past, this year's summit will be at the Hilton Harrisburg.  Register today!

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

PenSPRA's Annual Symposium, Friday April 8th in Shippensburg, PA
PenSPRA, or the Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association, has developed a powerhouse line-up of speakers and topics for a captivating day of professional development in Shippensburg on April 8th. Learn to master data to defeat your critics, use stories to clarify your district's brand and take your social media efforts to the next level with a better understanding of metrics and the newest trends.  Join us the evening before the Symposium for a “Conversation with Colleagues” from 5 – 6 pm followed by a Networking Social Cocktail Hour from 6 – 8 pm.  Both the Symposium Friday and the social events on Thursday evening will be held at the Shippensburg University Conference Center. Snacks at the social hour, and Friday’s breakfast and lunch is included in your registration cost. $125 for PenSPRA members and $150 for non-members. Learn more about our speakers and topics and register today at this link:

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.

2016 PA Educational Leadership Summit July 24-26 State College
Summit Sponsors: PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators - PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 
The 2016 Educational Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by four leading Pennsylvania education associations, provides an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together at a quality venue in "Happy Valley." 
Featuring Grant Lichtman, author of EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera (invited), and Dana Lightman, author of POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have... Create the Success You Want, keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics and district team planning and job alike sessions provides practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit before returning back to your district.   Register and pay by April 30, 2016 for the discounted "early bird" registration rate:

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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