Wednesday, February 17, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 17: Is there secretly enough bipartisan support in the Pa. House for a severance tax?

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup February 17, 2016:
Is there secretly enough bipartisan support in the Pa. House for a severance tax?

RSVP Today for One of EPLC’s Education Policy Forum Series on Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 State Budget Proposal
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - Philadelphia
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Pittsburgh

"If Wolf could get 25 Republicans and all 84 Democrats to agree on a plan, he'd have enough votes to pass a severance tax.   If a severance tax was put up for a vote on its own, it would get bipartisan support, contends John Hanger, Wolf's policy secretary.  "It would pass the House and Senate strongly," he said."
Is there secretly enough bipartisan support in the Pa. House for a severance tax?
Penn Live By Candy Woodall |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter  on February 16, 2016 at 8:15 AM, updated February 16, 2016 at 8:16 AM
When the Pennsylvania House in October rejected Gov. Tom Wolf's tax plan, some lawmakers said it was proof the new governor did not have support for any tax increases – including a severance tax on oil and gas production.  Those old arguments have resurfaced with the governor's recent budget proposal, which again includes a severance tax.  But this time around, it seems there's more political flexibility on a severance tax. Or maybe it was always there.  At least 25 Republican House members have publicly stated support or interest in a severance tax during the last two years, according to a PennLive analysis. The count includes numerous representatives from the southeastern corner of the state, as well as some from the Pittsburgh area and midstate.

Budget squabbles could cost schools PlanCon payments
York Dispatch by Jessica Schladebeck, 505-5438/@JessDispatch9:44 p.m. EST February 16, 2016
School districts across York County and beyond are awaiting repayments for construction and renovation projects through the state reimbursement system PlanCon, but this year's stalled budget has set aside no funding for the program.  The partial budget Wolf approved in December did not include the $300 million in PlanCon funds the state is due to pay out this year.  Should that line item remain at zero by the time budget negotiations wrap, York County Schools could lose between $5 million and $6 million in reimbursements for their various construction and renovation projects, said Dallastown Area School District business manager Donna Devlin.  Dallastown is anticipating approximately $850,000 in PlanCon reimbursements for the 2015-16 year, she said.  "I don't know how we'd reconcile being out almost $1 million," Devlin said. "In the end that burden could be forced on the schools and the taxpayers."

Philadelphia weighs in on school funding lawsuit
Inquirer by Tricia L. Nadolny, STAFF WRITER. Updated: FEBRUARY 16, 2016 — 3:11 PM EST
Calling the state's funding system "irrational," the city of Philadelphia's lawyers Tuesday weighed in on a long-standing suit against the Pennsylvania Department of Education now being heard by the state's highest court.  "Poorer districts have less ability to raise money for their schools, and, at the same time, have a greater need for funding because their students require extra support," Philadelphia City Solicitor Sozi Tulante wrote in the brief. "This funding system has left Pennsylvania with the most unequal distribution of education dollars of any state in the country."
The suit was brought in November, 2014 by seven parents (including several from Philadelphia) six school districts, the state NAACP, and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools.  The parties claim the state has a school funding system that "does not deliver the essential resources students need and discriminates against children based on where they live and the wealth of their communities." Though similar cases have been thrown out in the past, lawyers for the plaintiffs say that the adoption of statewide academic standards should force the court to acknowledge Pennsylvania is not providing an adequate education.
The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court in May after the case was tossed by the Commonwealth Court, which ruled that education funding should be left to the state legislature, not the courts.  The lawsuit comes as Gov. Wolf has proposed millions more in new money for Philadelphia and other struggling school districts statewide - money that has been held up by months-long budget stalemate in Harrisburg.

School-funding crisis deserves its day in court
Inquirer Letter by Gaetan J. Alfano, Deborah R. Gross, and Mary F. Platt Updated: FEBRUARY 16, 2016 — 1:58 PM EST
Gaetan J. Alfano (, Deborah R. Gross (, and Mary F. Platt ( respectively serve as chancellor, chancellor-elect, and vice chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Pennsylvania’s business community has watched with growing concern as our commonwealth’s schools have fallen deeper and deeper into crisis over the last several years. In the wake of drastic funding cuts, school districts across our state have been forced to lay off thousands of teachers, while cutting AP classes, art, music, and extracurricular opportunities and losing crucial support staff — like guidance counselors and school nurses.  The state’s school-funding situation is now so dire that many schools aren’t even able to offer the curriculum and supports that are mandated by law. In too many schools, over-stretched teachers struggle every day to deliver even the most basic education. The result has been plummeting test scores and lost opportunities for thousands of children — especially poorer children and children of color, whose schools were disproportionately affected by budget cuts.  Money can’t solve every problem, but adequate resources are a necessary ingredient for student success.  As attorneys who work with some of our state’s largest corporate citizens, we know firsthand that investment in our education system makes economic sense. An educated workforce is key to effectively competing in the global economy, and great schools are crucial to convincing businesses to remain or locate in Pennsylvania.

"The district in mid-December warned that it might have to close schools this year without state subsidies because local revenue would not be sufficient.  The state's failure to pass a budget for 2014-2015 and with no certainty the 2016-2017 state budget will be passed by June 30, will make it difficult for Norwin to prepare its own budget for the next school year, Wilson said."
Norwin officials warn April will be critical month
Trib Live BY JOE NAPSHA | Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, 10:54 p.m.
With no end in sight to the stalemate in Harrisburg over fully funding the state budget, Norwin school officials Monday repeated their warning that April will be a critical month because of the debt payments and payroll expenses it will face with no indication it will get more state aid this spring.  Although the state released $11.5 million in subsidies in January in an emergency allocation after a compromise budget was reached in December, Norwin is still waiting for almost $16 million in state aid just to reach the amount of funding it received in the 2014-2015 school year, said John Wilson, director of Norwin's business affairs.  The district faces a $5.1 million debt service payment in April, in addition to meeting three payrolls, each costing approximately $900,000.  Because of the expenses that Norwin must meet in April, it could be a “touch month,” Wilson said.  Robert Perkins, board president, said that school officials will need to know how much money Norwin would have available in “short-term investments” if elected officials in Harrisburg can't reach an agreement on the budget for this fiscal year. The district needs to know when it might have to hit “the panic button,” Perkins said.

"While school districts often have to approve their new budget before the legislature approves its spending plan, schools are faced this year with enacting a budget without benefit of the previous year’s state spending plan."
Area school districts face deadlines
Herald Standard By Christopher Buckley|  Posted: Monday, February 15, 2016 2:15 am | Updated: 8:07 am, Mon Feb 15, 2016.
Ed Zelich summed up the situation facing school districts across the Valley and statewide.
“It’s like throwing darts at a balloon in the dark because you don’t know where you’re at,” Zelich said.  “We’re on borrowed time now until this gets resolved.”  One area district with a potential timeline on that crisis is the California Area School District. Superintendent Brian Jackson said his district will run out of money as early as April if the district does not get the bulk of the state subsidies it was expected to receive when the district passed its budget by June 30, as required by law.  “We hope the state comes up with some resolution to get the state budget passed,” Jackson said.  This week, Gov. Tom Wolf introduced his proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget - but state lawmakers have yet to approve a spending plan for the current year.

By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 17, 2016 12:21 AM
The Penn Hills School District has asked its business manager to craft a 2016-17 spending plan that would include a property tax increase of no more than 5.7 percent, he said Tuesday.  Robert F. Geletko’s latest budget draft presented to board finance committee members Tuesday night sets the millage at 26.3 mills. The current figure is 24.8 mills.  “The board has instructed me to go no higher than 1.5,” said Mr. Geletko, who is also the board’s treasurer.  That would represent a property tax increase of $150 for a home valued at $100,000. The median home value in Penn Hills is $68,000, Mr. Geletko said.  The board approved a $94 million preliminary budget last month, although officials have said it’s unlikely that the spending level would stand. The passage was required so the district could begin petitioning the state Department of Education for approval of exceptions to the Act 1 index, enabling the school system to raise taxes at a higher-than-normal level, officials said.

Story, video: State budget impasse: New Castle superintendent lashes out at Turzai
The New Castle Area School District superintendent blames the extended state budget impasse on Speaker of the House Mike Turzai.  John J. Sarandrea told the New Castle School Board last week that state Rep. Turzai, a Republican, sent everyone home for the Christmas holiday break when "they had the votes to pass the budget. He refused to bring it to the floor and sent everybody home for the holiday break. That's a fact."  "He has his eye on the governor's mansion, he is a Catholic school guy all the way, he took $180,000 in campaign donations for the Marcellus Shale people and $100,000 from charter schools," Sarandrea told the board at its public work session. "He's no friend of public education and he's the reason – THE reason — why we don't have a budget right now."  Attempts to reach Turzai on his cell phone yesterday were unsuccessful.  Sarandrea is encouraging the school board members and administrators to attend the next board of directors meeting of the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV on Feb. 23 to confer with other districts within the intermediate unit about what pressure districts can apply on the state legislature to enact a budget.  The boards of 27 school districts within the Intermediate Unit, which is housed in Grove City, comprise about 250 school board members. The superintendents of the districts met recently and collectively have agreed to ask their school boards whether they would be willing to attend the IU's board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at its Grove City headquarters, Sarandrea said. The purpose of their attending would be to discuss what role districts can play to impact the ongoing state budget impasse, he said.

Guest Column: Gov. Wolf presents Pa. with a clear choice
By Frances Wolf, Delco Times Guest Columnist POSTED: 02/16/16, 1:18 PM EST
As my husband, Gov. Tom Wolf, outlined in his address to the General Assembly this past week, we have a choice to make – a choice that has serious implications for the future of Pennsylvania’s schools. And for the future of our state.  We can choose to ignore the $2 billion structural deficit that Pennsylvania currently faces which will force an additional $1 billion in cuts to our schools. If we choose this path, we will bar tens of thousands of preschoolers from early childhood programs. We will force school districts to lay off thousands of dedicated public school educators. We will create significantly larger class sizes depriving our children of the attention and resources they need to succeed. We will reduce their possibilities for success not only in the classroom but in life. And we will force school districts to exact even higher property taxes - taxes that were already increased in 2011. To a greater degree than ever before we will force many homeowners to choose between paying their property taxes or keeping their homes.
Or, we can choose to support the program my husband set out in his new budget proposal. His plan will restore investments to our schools and ensure that the state live up to its constitutionally mandated responsibility to fund our schools. His plan promotes brighter prospects for our children by investing in early childhood and higher education. His plan will reduce the property tax burden that homeowners currently face.  If we choose this latter path, we will build a strong foundation for our educational system and our children. We will give our schools the important resources they need to teach. And we will give our children the quality public school education they deserve.

Charter schools bristle at Wolf proposal to give unspent cash to districts
Trib Live BY ELIZABETH BEHRMAN  | Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, 10:51 p.m.
When City Charter High School invited state police to do a safety inspection of the building Downtown, the agency recommended adding bullet-proof glass at the entrance for extra security.  The school followed that advice, CEO and principal Ron Sofo said, and used about $80,000 from its reserves to pay for the project.  Those unassigned funds, which aren't earmarked for specific yearly expenses, are necessary to help cover unanticipated costs, Sofo said. That's why he and other charter school leaders are against Gov. Tom Wolf's proposal to make charter schools reimburse districts for the tuition money they doesn't use.  “It's not to buy private jet planes,” Sofo said. “It's all related to the school.”  Charter schools are privately operated but funded by taxpayers in the form of tuition payments from public school districts.  Wolf says he wants to prevent charter schools from “collecting more in tuition revenue than they actually spent on students,” according to his 2016-17 budget outline. His proposal for next year includes cuts to cyber charter schools because they don't have the same facility costs as their brick-and-mortar counterparts and would change the formula used to calculate reimbursements for special education students.  Charter school advocates contend that the reimbursement plan discriminates against charters, a notion Wolf's office disputes.

Agora cyber charter school lays off at least 100 teachers
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call Febraury 16, 2016
ALLENTOWN — A cybercharter school that serves 8,500 students statewide is placing the blame on Gov. Tom Wolf and the state budget impasse for at least 100 layoffs at the school.
Melissa Reese, a spokeswoman for Agora Cyber Charter School based in King of Prussia, Montgomery County, said the school's board of trustees voted Thursday to lay off teachers and staff. She did not have the exact number of employees impacted, but said she believes it was at least 100.  "Having to part with good teachers and support staff who've work tirelessly to educate our students is something no school should have to do," the school said in a statement. "But in spite of the difficult position the governor has put schools like Agora in, we continue to do everything possible to educate the children that the governor and state Legislature have forgotten about."  Parents and teachers are shocked that the layoffs are coming midyear after the school promised no cuts. The school, the second-largest cybercharter school in the state, has more than 600 employees.

"Public interest attorney Michael Churchill said that the ruling means that the "Supreme Court has put an end to the legislature’s attempt to fix the school district’s financial problems by giving virtually unlimited authority to the SRC to do whatever it thought useful. With that approach now gone, the legislature must come to grips with how its own actions are making Philadelphia’s finances worse."  He cited the lack of adequate state funding, the heavy impact of recent budget cuts on Philadelphia, and the decision to allow unrestrained charter growth regardless of the financial impact on district-run schools as among its poor policy choices."
Supreme Court wipes out SRC's powers to waive provisions of Pa. school code
The ruling has huge implications for both charter schools and the union contract.
the notebook by Dale Mezzacappa February 16, 2016 — 6:43pm
In a decision that could have massive repercussions for Philadelphia schools, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday declared unconstitutional the provision in state law granting the School Reform Commission extraordinary powers to cancel provisions of the state school code.  The decision came in a case involving West Philadelphia Achievement Charter School, which since 2011 has been challenging the District's efforts to limit its enrollment to 400 students. Charter schools are not subject to District-imposed enrollment caps, absent the charter school's consent, according to the school code.   But the potential impact of the court's action extends far beyond caps on charter enrollment.  The ruling is a severe blow to the SRC, which has frequently sought to suspend the school code in an effort to limit charter expansionexpedite school closings, and cancel provisions in the teachers' contract –including built-in raises for years of service and seniority protections in calling back laid-off employees. 

Philly SRC approves 3 of 12 charter applications amid bombshell Pa. Supreme Court ruling
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to approve three new charter schools Tuesday night – increasing the city's charter options by 2,024 seats.  SRC members also were caught off guard by a new ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Of twelve applicants, the SRC approved a middle school run by Russell Byers in Center City, a K-12 school run by KIPP in Strawberry Mansion, and an elementary school in run by Esperanza in Hunting Park.  None will open until the 2017-18 school year. The final agreements will depend on the operators consenting to the SRC's requested conditions.  The SRC wants Esperanza and Russell Byers to agree to fewer students than they had requested, while granting only a three-year charter instead of five.

"It could be disastrous for children," Commissioner Bill Green said after Tuesday's SRC meeting. "I believe the SRC acted in good faith when it made those decisions based on what the written law was. To have it overturned in its entirety is potentially disastrous."
State Supreme Court rules against SRC; fallout unknown
Inquirer by Martha Woodall and Kristen A. Graham, STAFF WRITERS. Updated: FEBRUARY 17, 2016 — 1:07 AM EST
On the day that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission approved three new charter schools, the state Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that could have grave implications for the cash-strapped district's finances and operations for years to come.  The court ruled that the SRC had no legal power to suspend portions of the state charter law and school code. The ruling strips the commission of extraordinary powers it believed it had - and used.  It was too soon to say exactly what the fallout for the school system would be - district lawyers offered no official comment - but early indications were ominous.  By declaring unconstitutional a portion of the takeover law that the SRC has relied on heavily, many of the major actions the commission has taken in recent years - up to and including bypassing seniority in teacher assignments - could be subject to reversal.

Insider: The SRC May Be Sizing Up Your Neighborhood School Right Now
Saltz: Even if your school has dedicated parents and is showing signs of improvement, the SRC could still turn it into a charter. Just ask the parents at Wister Elementary.
PhillyMag Citified BY ANDREW SALTZ  |  FEBRUARY 16, 2016 AT 11:01 AM
 (Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from a Citified insider.)
Dear Parents: Pay attention.
The School Reform Commission wants to turn three neighborhood schools into charters. The community is outraged. The teachers are marching. The meetings are crazy. And that's not going to make a difference.  On Jan. 21, the SRC's monthly meeting devolved into bedlam when Commissioner Sylvia Simms motioned, with no public notice or invitation for comment, to begin the process of turning Wister Elementary over to Mastery Charter as part of the school district's "Renaissance" initiative. (At the same meeting, the SRC also voted to start the procedure of handing Huey and Cooke Elementaries to charters.) Veteran education reporter Kristen Graham said it "may be the curviest curve" she had seen, and these are meetings that have led to union presidents being arrested and City Council members dancing to "Hotline Bling." Simms' motion passed anyway.  Sounds crazy, right? Well, guess what? The same thing could happen to your school.

"Education is one of the larger sections of the report. The committee calls on Kenney to fulfill his promise of 25 community schools over the next four years, and for universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds. The recommendations do not include specifics on how to fund the plan, which Kenney has said will be announced at his March 3 budget address."
Transition team has 139 recommendations for Kenney's first year
Inquirer by Julia Terruso, Staff Writer. Updated: FEBRUARY 16, 2016 — 10:13 PM EST
The transition team tasked with issuing recommendations for Mayor Kenney's first year in office handed him more than 100 suggested initiatives in a 65-page report released Tuesday.  If Kenney follows the recommendations - and the timeline - he's got a busy road ahead.  The report, compiled and edited by Kenney's policy team, largely reflects his campaign promises across every aspect of city government, but offers few details on how to fund or accomplish the initiatives.  Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said the report offered recommendations, "not a list of what we're going to do. Some we will do, some we won't be able to do."  In November, Kenney appointed a diverse collection of leaders from the public and private sector to focus on five areas: education, economic opportunity, public safety, efficient government, and ensuring a diverse workforce. The group of 170 was divided into 10 committees.

Kenney Transition Report pdf (Education page 25)
To prepare for the transition period between November 5, 2015, and January 4, 2016, Mayor Jim Kenney appointed a number of respected leaders from both the private and public sector to develop recommendations for making progress on ten of the Administration’s top priority areas.

What Philly should know about creating successful community schools
the notebook by Mark Duffy and Della Jenkins February 16, 2016 — 3:25pm
Mark Duffy and Della Jenkins are researchers at Research for Action, an independent, Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that focuses on education research and evaluation.
Mayor Kenney’s first major policy announcement centered on plans to develop 25 community schools across Philadelphia.  As is the case with any ambitious policy proposal, the “how” will take time. The “what” and “why” are more clear:  By providing extended learning opportunities and access to additional services – such as preventive health care, counseling, and quality early education – community schools strive to address the effects of poverty on academic performance and provide more comprehensive supports for traditionally underserved students and families.  At the same time, research tells us that initial effects of community schools are small and that program quality matters enormously when it comes to outcomes.  
So, what can Philadelphia learn from the experiences of other districts that have invested in the community schools approach with varying results?  First, as the name underscores, the development of any true community school model must start with the right partners around the table, including educators, neighborhood leaders, parents, and service providers from across the city.  Too often policymakers pay lip service to community input without providing a substantive and accessible process by which neighborhoods can determine their own needs and have a voice in how best to address them. 

Another budget impasse ripple likely to cost Phoenixville $3 million
Pottstown Mercury Editorial POSTED: 02/16/16, 2:00 AM EST |
The ironies abound.  The Pennsylvania Legislature, House Republicans in particular, have opposed both Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget and the two compromise budgets negotiated by their party leaders, most likely because they don’t want to be tagged with raising taxes when they run for reelection this year.  But the state government’s failure to adopt a full budget will still raise their constituents taxes, just in less obvious ways and in ways that will make it harder to pin on them.  The ripple effects of the budget failure have shown up everywhere from counties covering social services costs, to the uncertainty it is creating in the local school budget process.  But one more glaring example has popped up in Phoenixville — a $3 million example.

Charters Suffer Surprise Loss on a Constitutional Amendment in Virginia
Education Law Prof Blog By Derek Black Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Virginia currently has very few charter schools, due in large part to the fact that local school districts, rather than the state board of education or third parties, must authorize them.  The Virginia Senate has been working on a plan to "fix" the "problem."  Their solution was to amend the constitution.  Apparently, all was going well from the reformers' perspective, but on Monday the measure suffered a surprising defeat. According to the Washington Post, conservatives had gotten "the Republican-led House and Senate to pass an identical resolution last year. But this time, two Senate Republicans voted against it. Neither one spoke against it during the floor. However, Democrats who led the charge against the bill said it would undermine the authority of local school boards."  Given the national political and economic organization that has successfully pushed similar changes in other states, the issue is sure to return to Virginia. Massachusetts, for instance, is under enormous pressure and it is not letting up.  Advocates there are challenging the state's cap on charters as a violation of the state constitution's education clause.  The merits of that claim are highly questionable, but it is nonetheless creating significant political pressure for new legislation, which some predict is coming soon.  With this defeat in the Virginia Senate, Virginia will solidly remain one of the nation's rare hold-outs on the issue of rapid expansion of charters for, at least, a few years.  

Testing Resistance & Reform News: February 10 - 16, 2016
FairTest Submitted by fairtest on February 16, 2016 - 6:05pm

"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
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
Mark B. Miller, President-Elect, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
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

“Western Region Forum Series” – Thursday, February 25, 2016
Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center100 Lytton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Continental Breakfast – 8:00 a.m. Program – 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
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:
Karina Chavez
, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education
Dr. Jeffrey Fuller
, Superintendent, Freedom Area School District
Cheryl Kleiman, Staff Attorney, Education Law Center
Nathan Mains, Executive Director, Pennsylvania School Boards Association
RSVP for the Pittsburgh forum by clicking here.
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.

'Beyond Measure' to be shown Feb. 24 at Bucks County Community College
Bucks County Courier Times Joan Hellyer, staff writer Sunday, February 14, 2016 11:45 pm
The general public is invited to a free screening of "Beyond Measure," a documentary about education reform, on Feb. 24 at Bucks County Community College, organizers said.  The movie, from Vicki Abeles, director of the award-winning film "Race to Nowhere," begins at 7 p.m. in the Zlock Performing Arts Center on the BCCC campus at 275 Swamp Road in Newtown Township.
In "Beyond Measure," Abeles examines public schools across the country that are working to "create a more equitable, empowering, student-centered education culture from the ground up," event organizers said.  The college’s Department of Social and Behavioral Science, Future Teachers Organization, and Amy McIntyre, founder of the Council Rock Parents Facebook page, are sponsoring the free event.  Register online at For more information call 215-504-8545 or send an email to

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.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:00 - 3:30 at the Hilton Harrisburg.
PA Budget and Policy Center website
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, and local communities. The Summit will focus on the leading issues facing the commonwealth in 2016, with workshops, lunch, and a legislative panel discussion.  Space is limited, so fill out the form below to reserve your spot at the Budget Summit.
Thursday, March 3, 2016 Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg Pennsylvania
The event is free, but PBPC welcomes donations of any size to help off-set costs.

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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