Friday, February 26, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 26: How do you wake up the PA Legislature to the severity of its own budget impasse?

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup February 26, 2016:
How do you wake up the PA Legislature to the severity of its own budget impasse?

PSBA Advocacy Forum & Day on the Hill APR 4, 2016 • 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Area school officials generate budget impasse reactions at Town Hall event
By Debbie Wachter New Castle News February 25, 2016
Local school administrators gathered Tuesday to vent their frustrations about the state budget impasse, and sought ways to pressure elected officials to pass a budget quickly.  Nearly 60 school directors and administrators from 12 districts in Lawrence, Butler and Mercer counties met at the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV in Grove City to discuss ways they could encourage legislators and the governor restore money to school districts.  The meeting was spearheaded by New Castle Superintendent John Sarandrea, after he blamed the eight-month impasse on state Rep. Mike Turzai at a recent New Castle Area School Board meeting.  Some school districts are getting near to closing their doors because they do not have the funds to operate, Nathan Mains, Pennsylvania School Board Association executive director, told the group.  Mains said he is not suggesting any school district close as a political statement. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, some districts are going to shut down because they are running out of money, “and they’re out of options.”  One of those is the Erie School District, where the board of education approved a $30 million line of credit during the budget impasse.  Mains pledged PSBA’s help in giving all of the districts statewide guidance in taking steps to get the attention of the legislature so that they see that things are in “crisis.”

Schools to lawmakers: Wake Up!  Administrators fear budget disaster in Pa.
By Amanda Spadaro Eagle Staff Writer Butler Eagle 2/25/16
GROVE CITY — How do you take the entire state Legislature and wake it up to the severity of its own state budget impasse?  That’s the question more than 50 school administrators and board members sought to answer this week at the Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV, which provides educational services to schools in Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.  With the state budget 241 days overdue, school districts statewide are facing an “unprecedented disaster,” according to Wayde Killmeyer, executive director of the MIU IV.   Nathan Mains, executive director of Pennsylvania School Boards Association, spoke to the educators about how they could talk to their legislators about the immediate need to pass a state budget.  PSBA sent out a survey to the 500 school districts in the state and received 200 replies. According to that survey, 21 percent of the districts already have cut back on programs, and 27 percent are pushing back future projects such as building maintenance or technology investments because of the state’s financial uncertainty.  At least 29 percent of the schools surveyed have missed some of their payments to charter schools, pension funds or vendors.   So far, the state budget impasse has cost districts an average of $13,000 through loans and interest payments, Mains said. Some schools already have reached an additional $65,000 in costs. Out of the 200 districts, 168 will need to raise taxes to handle the current financial crisis, he said. 

Blogger note:  It is my understanding that PA school districts have already borrowed over $1 billion to get through the budget impasse, with over $40 million in tax dollars already spent on interest and fees, instead of in the classroom.
Allentown schools take out $50M  loan to stay open
Lehigh Valley Live By Sara K. Satullo | For  Email the author | Follow on Twitter  on February 25, 2016 at 9:48 PM, updated February 25, 2016 at 9:49 PM
The Allentown School District has to take out a $50 million loan to keep its doors open.
The school board voted unanimously to borrow $50 million through a tax revenue anticipation note since there is still no 2015-16 state budget passed in Harrisburg. The loan should get the school through the rest of the school year, CFO Jack Clark said.  "If we don't borrow some money, we won't be able to stay in business for the children of Allentown," Clark said.  This isn't the district's first loan this year and Allentown is not alone.  A recent Pennsylvania School Boards Association survey of districts found that 63 percent of respondents won't be able to make it through the rest of the school year without borrowing money if a budget is not passed.  Of those that had borrowed money already, the average amount was $3.5 million and the maximum was $10 million.

"In his recent op-ed for the Centre Daily Times, state Sen. Jake Corman wrote that Pennsylvania voters “have repeatedly rejected the governor’s massive tax increases to support more government spending.” This is a very unfortunate misunderstanding on Corman’s part.  The governor who was rejected by the people of Pennsylvania was Tom Corbett."
A misunderstanding
Centre Daily Times Letter by MICHAEL BERUBE, STATE COLLEGE
In his recent op-ed for the Centre Daily Times, state Sen. Jake Corman wrote that Pennsylvania voters “have repeatedly rejected the governor’s massive tax increases to support more government spending.” This is a very unfortunate misunderstanding on Corman’s part.  The governor who was rejected by the people of Pennsylvania was Tom Corbett. Indeed, Corbett was denied what most of his predecessors had taken for granted, a second term; he was the first Pennsylvania governor to be ousted by voters since 1971.  The reason we rejected Corbett so emphatically was that he ran up huge deficits driven by tax giveaways to the wealthy, capped off by his refusal to impose any tax whatsoever on the natural gas industry — as every other state has done.  We elected Tom Wolf precisely because he promised to close the budget gap and restore funding to education by making Pennsylvania’s most fortunate residents pay their fair share for public goods and services. We elected Wolf resoundingly, by a 10-point margin. He has a clear mandate.  Pennsylvania Republicans are determined to deny this simple fact, because elections apparently don’t matter when Democrats win them. And they are determined to cut services to Pennsylvania’s pensioners, schoolchildren and people with disabilities — all to maintain those tax giveaways to their cronies. But now they are undermining state government altogether.  Corman and his allies should stop playing games and start serving the people — including the people who put Wolf into office.

Pennsylvania incumbents feel too comfortable
Bill White Contact Reporter Morning Call February 25, 2016
Trump, Sanders revolutions should spill over to Pennsylvania
The presidential campaigns of both major parties are reminding us that people of all political persuasions are sick of politics as usual.  Donald Trump isn't leading because voters have a yearning for loud-mouthed bullies.Bernie Sanders isn't surging because voters are intrigued by finger-wagging socialists.  Voters are just tired of seeing politicians grovel before campaign-contributing billionaires and waffle to suit the moment. They want change, and they seem willing to blow things up, if necessary, in hopes that something better will emerge from the rubble.  Or at least something different. Remember that exchange near the end of "GroundhogDay," when Bill Murray/Phil Connors wakes up and realizes that Andie MacDowell/Rita is next to him and his eons-long repetition of the same day finally is over?
"Something is … different," he says.
"Good or bad?" she asks.
"Anything different is good."
That's America speaking.  I agree with the yearning for change, if not with these particular solutions. What's frustrating to me is that although I routinely hear similar expressions of dissatisfaction with the status quo in Pennsylvania government, we're headed for another election of same old same old.  Go to the Ballotpedia website and look at the list of candidates in this year's state House elections.  By my count, 81 of the 185 state House members — including several members of our local delegation — are running unopposed, barring write-ins.  Think about that for a moment. We're coming off the worst imaginable year in state government, full of gridlock, corruption, disgrace, even porn. We have no budget, which has thrown our school districts and social services into continuing turmoil, with some districts facing fiscal disaster.

How low can you go, Pennsylvania politicians?
Steve Esack Contact ReporterCall Harrisburg Bureau February 25, 2016
Zooks! D’Oh! Sufferin Succotash!
Either one of those cartoon catch phrases can sum up voters’ increasingly disparate view of state government and its politicians.  Two out of three registered voters — 67 percent — now believe the state is “on the wrong track,” according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll released to all media on Thursday. That is 5 percentage points higher than the last poll, conducted in October.  Nearly half of those surveyed say that government and politicians are the state’s biggest problems because of the nearly 8-month-long budget impasse. That’s a 9 percentage point increase from October (38 percent to 47 percent).  As a result, the number of voters who think Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is doing an “excellent” or “good job” has dropped 5 percentage points to 31 percent. The drop among Democrats plunged 12 percentage points to 45 percent.
The poll did not ask voters for their views of the Legislature or individual lawmakers.

"Making things more complicated, the future of PlanCon is in limbo. Written as part of the fiscal code that makes up the yet-to-be-finalized state budget, PlanCon payments to school districts haven’t gone out yet this year.  “We owe school districts billions of dollars in payments that we need to catch up on,” state Rep. Seth Grove (R-York) said.  Grove says PlanCon as a whole is “totally broken” and needs to be reformed. He cites an overbearing application process and red tape that keeps districts waiting years for cash. While Grove says there is wide ranging support for the reforms included in his House Bill 210. The bill is awaiting state Senate approval before becoming part of the official 2015-2016 budget."
PlanCon: State funds for school construction in limbo
By Mike Parker Published: February 24, 2016, 9:50 pm  Updated: February 25, 2016, 4:00 pm
HALIFAX, Pa. (WHTM) — The Halifax Area School District has some decisions to make. A small rural district in northern Dauphin County, enrollment is dropping and every one of its school buildings is aging.  “We’re currently performing a district-wide campus consolidation study,” superintendent Dr. Michele Orner said. “Everyone driving along on Peter’s Mountain Road has seen the beautiful upgrades we’re making to our secondary school campus, the middle and high school. The second piece of it is we’re looking at two elementary schools that we currently have; one that is (dating back to) 1958, and another that is 1968.”  The older of the two schools, Enders-Fisherville Elementary, currently houses only kindergarten and first grades. Built when George Leader was governor, the charming school surrounded by agricultural fields still features outdated slate blackboards, original asbestos tile flooring, leaky windows and a tattered curtain that hangs above the stage in the school’s “Audigymacafetorium,” a nickname Orner herself has given to the school’s multi-purpose room.

Closing a school district for lack of money? Pa. schools get primer on how to do it
Penn Live By Jan Murphy |  Email the author | Follow on Twitter on February 25, 2016 at 1:26 PM, updated February 25, 2016 at 2:29 PM
A how-to manual on closing a school district for lack of funds is not provided in Pennsylvania's Public School Code but the state Department of Education did its best to compile one in response to districts' inquiries.  The department this week shared a memo with districts that outlines 11 actions that school boards would have to consider before taking the drastic step of shuttering their schools until funding becomes available.  They include such measures as calculating the amount of state funding that would be lost if they fail to meet the state's mandatory 180-day school year requirement; developing plan to address payroll requirements and make debt service payments; considering penalties for breaking contracts with food services, vendors and others; and giving parents in enough time for them to find an educational alternative.  The memo (see below) indicates it would take at least 60 days to complete the process and admits the department's checklist may not be an exhaustive but points out closing down a district for financial reasons "is an unprecedented event" that the state's education laws never contemplated.  The day districts may be faced with making such a decision is approaching.  On Thursday, they received their last payment from the $2.5 billion appropriated in the 2015-16 budget that Gov. Tom Wolf enacted on Dec. 29 to help cover district's basic operational costs.

Pa. Dept. of Education explains why it issued primer on closing school districts
Penn Live By Jan Murphy |   Email the author | Follow on Twitter   on February 25, 2016 at 2:27 PM
The state Department of Education is not aware of any imminent school district closures but it issued instructions on how to do shut districts down for lack of funding as a resource to districts, said a spokeswoman.  In an email, spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman explained that the reasoning behind the memo it distributed through intermediate units to school districts that are caught in the middle of a unresolved 2015-16 state budget dispute and how it was compiled. The full text of her email follows:

State advises schools on possible closures due to funding shortages
By Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 25, 2016 1:11 PM
HARRISBURG -- With state funding for schools again scheduled to run out, the Department of Education has prepared some guidelines for districts considering a closure due to lack of money.  The department has been receiving inquiries from school districts about what they would need to do to shut down schools, said Jeffrey Sheridan, spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf.  "We are not suggesting that this means any school district is going to be closed or that closure is imminent," he said.  In a memo dated Feb. 23, the department states that the checklist was developed to help guide "school districts considering a closure."  It says: "However, please note that the closure of a school district for lack of funds is an unprecedented event that has not been contemplated in the Public School Code."  After half a year of disagreement over the state budget and related issues left school districts without funding, Mr. Wolf in late December signed a Republican-passed budget after reducing it through line-item vetoes in an effort to force legislators back to the negotiating table.

Budget crisis prompts state Department of Education to prepare shutdown checklist for school districts
Trib LIve BY TONY RAAP  | Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, 7:45 p.m.
The state Department of Education has developed a checklist for school districts in case they are forced to shut down because of a funding shortage.  The memo, dated Tuesday, arrived as the state approaches its ninth month without a complete budget for 2015-16.  All school districts rely heavily on funds from the state, and the budget impasse has forced some to take out loans.  The Education Department drafted the checklist in response to questions from school districts about what steps they would need to take if they were forced to close.  “This is not to suggest that any school district closures are imminent,” said Jeffrey Sheridan, spokesman for Gov. Tom Wolf.  According to the memo, “closure of a school district for lack of funds is an unprecedented event that has not been contemplated in the Public School Code.”

Sen. Wagner wails away

by John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist.  Updated: FEBRUARY 25, 2016 — 8:57 AM EST
Whatever good state budget hearings are doing in Harrisburg -- where there is no budget nor prospects for one -- they are providing York County Republican Sen. Scott Wagner with something akin to a pigeon shoot.  The fiery, anti-tax first-term conservative, a bane to Democrats and the Wolf administration, is using the hearings to hammer his message that the state's biggest problems are related to spending.  On Monday, he went after Wolf Budget  Secretary Randy Albright over the governor's assertion last year that the state could save up to $500 million by renegotiating and reducing public pension management fees.  What happened to that, Wagner wondered? When Albright said the administration's working on it, Wagner said, "not a good answer."  Then Wagner, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, went after education dollars.

Although $88 million might seem a substantial sum, Monson called it a "modest" fund balance, "barely two weeks of operating expenses for the district."  He said the amount was 3 percent of the $2.9 billion in revenue the district received, but financial experts recommend 10 percent to handle contingencies.  "You can see how important fund balances are with the state budget impasse this year," Monson said. "Having the funds in hand allowed us to deal with certain issues around the impasse."
Phila. schools ended fiscal year with $88M on hand
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer. Updated: FEBRUARY 26, 2016 — 1:08 AM EST
The perennially cash-strapped Philadelphia School District ended the 2015 fiscal year with $88 million on hand.  District officials said Thursday that the financial cushion stemmed from new revenue, including money from the city's new cigarette tax.  "This is a positive-ending fund balance," said Uri Monson, the chief financial officer, who joined the district last month. "It is a good thing, but people are not used to hearing that from the district."  The money the district had on June 30, 2015, contrasts with the negative $14.8 million balance the year before.  The figures were contained in the comprehensive financial report, released Thursday. The City Charter requires the district to prepare the report each year. The report is being sent to the mayor, City Council, and bond holders. 

"As I've said many times, the debate about whether charters are inherently good or bad is a red herring. The primary issues are how to fund charter and district schools in a fair and equitable way and how to ensure that all schools, both charter and district, are quality schools. Many have advocated for a marketplace where charters and public schools compete and parents are informed about their options in that marketplace. That only works if funding one does not disadvantage the other and accountability is fair and uniform. Such is not the case today in Philadelphia."
Schools suffering death by a thousand cuts
Philly Daily News Opinion by Marjorie Neff Updated: FEBRUARY 26, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
Marjorie Neff is the Chair of the School Reform Commission.
IN FOCUSING on the problems created and solvable by our state legislature, the Daily News editorial board got it right in their editorial "Supreme mess: Ruling will erode Philly school district."  
For the last several years, schools across Pennsylvania have fallen deeper and deeper into crisis. Drastic funding cuts to school districts across the state have resulted in layoffs of thousands of teachers, counselors, nurses and crucial support staff. AP classes, art, music and extracurricular opportunities have been limited.  Philadelphia and other districts with the poorest children are disproportionately affected and we have long since passed the point where we could cut our way out of this crisis. New state revenue and new state laws are essential.  As the editorial describes, last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a portion of the 2001 law that the State legislature imposed on the Philadelphia School District to cope with the funding crisis that they themselves have created. That law allowed the SRC to suspend parts of the School Code in order to bring about fiscal stability and enhanced educational opportunities within the District.  Among the limited actions the SRC took that required suspension of parts of the school code were caps on charter school enrollment.

School by school breakdown of Philadelphia's substitute teacher crisis
After outsourcing its substitute teaching services to a private firm, the School District of Philadelphia appears to have left its schools in a worse position – stressing an already fragile system plagued by deep needs.  School-by-school data obtained by Newsworks reveal that some schools have been forced to deal with staggeringly low fill-in rates.  More than 50 of the district’s 200-plus schools posted percentage fill-rates in the single digits - meaning that substitutes were only provided to teach uncovered classes less than 10 percent of the time.  In a few cases, fill rates were effectively zero. In one very troubling example, Luis Munoz-Marin elementary in Fairhill saw 244 teacher absences and only one substitute.  A slew of other schools posted similarly distressing rates, calling into question the wisdom of the district’s decision to outsource the service.  You can see the fill-in rates for all district schools in the interactive graph below.

House members call school district consolidation bill a step toward big savings
Beaver County Times By J.D. Prose Feb 20, 2016
Fayette County state Rep. Tim Mahoney’s proposal to consolidate school districts into countywide operations seems to have widespread, if sometimes tentative, support from several of his House colleagues.  “The first step needs to be the consolidation of administrators,” said state Rep. Jim Christiana, R-15, Brighton Township.  A House Education Committee member, Christiana said there are 7,400 school district administrators in the state with many in districts such as those dotting western Pennsylvania that have seen shrinking populations.  “The public is saying, ‘Why have we lost kids, thousands of kids, yet hired more administrators and consolidated just once?’” Christiana said, referring to the Center Area-Monaca merger that created Central Valley.  If countywide consolidations were done across Pennsylvania, Christiana estimated that “at least $1 billion” could be saved in operating costs.  House Bill 840, which Mahoney, D-51, South Union Township, hosted a town hall meeting on Thursday in his hometown, calls for the state's 500 school districts to be consolidated into countywide districts governed by a single school board and superintendent.

Proposal to trim education programs draws fire in Penn Hills
Post Gazette By Tim Means February 26, 2016 12:00 AM
A proposal for program reform met stiff resistance Monday night as Penn Hills teachers, students and parents criticized plans to cut courses in art, foreign languages, math, robotics, business and social studies.  The plan also proposes that special education students shift into classrooms, which will replace some special education teachers with aides.  Board members voted 6-2 to send the proposal to the state Department of Education. Erin Vecchio and Pauline Calbrese dissented. The plan would be implemented once the state approves.  Superintendent Nancy Hines said the plan is part of a comprehensive review of program impacts and options.  “Spending is a strong consideration, but we want to remind everyone that we are in the business of education. Finance cannot drive what we do,” she said. “We cannot assume that what we’re doing works, especially when we have more than 700 students attending charter schools.”

“The art of compromise is dead,” Harhai, 61, of Monessen, who has served 10 terms, told the AP. “It’s a one-sided political environment and no matter who has that one side, it is not healthy. It’s just come down to money and redistricting.”  “We’re the worst gerrymandered state in the nation,” Harhai added.  Harhai co-sponsored House Bill 1344. The first part of the bill looks at forming a Citizen’s Reappointment Commission modeled after California’s redistricting commission. Senate Bill 484 also calls for the formation of a commission."
EDITORIAL: Take back the power of your vote
York Dispatch Editorial 5:23 p.m. EST February 25, 2016
Every decade, using updated U.S. Census information, states redraw their legislative and congressional districts. In nearly 45 of the 50 states, including Pennsylvania, state lawmakers get to decide how this process will evolve.  Those in power draw the lines, creating wacky-shaped districts that can give them a lock on winning future elections.  That means that in 2020, control of the state Legislature will be crucial to political parties.  Not surprisingly, reform bills in the House and Senate are introduced by those who belong to a party (in Pennsylvania, it’s the Democrats) that won’t benefit from political gerrymandering.

Pennsylvania Students Now Able to Choose High School Equivalency Test
PDE Press Release 02/24/2016
Harrisburg, PA - Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today announced that in an effort to encourage autonomy and provide Pennsylvanians with choices in obtaining their high school equivalency certificate, the state has entered into partnerships with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to offer the HiSET® equivalency exam and with GED Testing Services (GTS) to offer the GED® exam.  “Now, more than ever, Pennsylvanians need the flexibility to pursue their educational and career goals in the manner that best meets their needs, and the added option of the HiSET® exam grants them that opportunity,” said Rivera. “There are multiple pathways to success in today’s economy and by offering a choice in measurement tools, more adults and those who did not graduate will have access to the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma and, ultimately, the jobs they hope to obtain in the future.”  Under the agreement, Pennsylvanians who did not graduate from high school will be able to choose between the HiSET® exam and the GED® exam when taking their high school equivalency test. Both state-approved tests measure the skills needed to obtain equivalency and are recognized and accepted by colleges, employers, and the U.S. military.

Ballotpedia: Pennsylvania House of Representatives elections, 2016
Elections for the office of Pennsylvania House of Representatives will take place in 2016. The primary election will be held on April 26, 2016, and the general election will be held on November 8, 2016. The candidate filing deadline was February 16, 2016. All 203 seats in the chamber are up for election in 2016.

Ballotpedia: Pennsylvania State Senate elections, 2016
Elections for the office of Pennsylvania State Senate will take place in 2016. The primary election will be held on April 26, 2016, and the general election will be held on November 8, 2016. The candidate filing deadline was February 16, 2016.  A total of 25 seats out of the chamber's 50 seats are up for election in 2016. Pennsylvania state senators serve staggered, four-year terms and half of the senate is up for election every two years.

Open eBooks: Now Available: A Library of Opportunity
The White House website FEBRUARY 24, 2016 AT 7:00 AM ET BY R. DAVID EDELMAN
Open eBooks is now available to millions of students offering unprecedented access to thousands of digital books.  What if we could ensure that every student, no matter where they live or the income of their parents, could get access to a great book?  What if they had access to not just one book, but a library of thousands of titles – and could read them from anywhere?  We’ve taken a big step toward that vision thanks to Open eBooks, a stakeholder-driven project that the President highlighted last April, and that after months of hard work by a team of libraries, publishers, and non-profits, is launching nationwide today. For millions of America’s kids, Open eBooks can be a passport to a world of learning and opportunity – delivering over $250 million of reading material to students who need it most, and introducing them to a love of reading.

Eight Things to Know About the Next Generation Science Standards
Education Week Curriculum Matters By Liana Heitin on February 23, 2016 8:37 AM
By now you may have heard that there's a set of common science standards that some states are adopting called the Next Generation Science Standards. But if that's about where your knowledge ends, don't worry, you're not alone.   The science standards have undoubtedly taken a backseat to the Common Core State Standards, which have been the subject of ongoing political and instructional controversy. But as of last week,18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards—meaning millions of students will soon be learning the new benchmarks in their classrooms. And many more individual school districts have jumped the gun on their states, and decided to bring the science standards to their schools ahead of statewide adoption. 

Bipartisan optimism that John King Jr. will be confirmed as Obama’s education secretary
Washington Post By Emma Brown February 25 at 6:00 PM  
While Washington battles over who should name the next Supreme Court justice, the Senate education committee held a confirmation hearing Thursday afternoon for John King Jr., President Obama’s nominee to serve as education secretary for the administration’s final year.  King faced a number of questions during the two-hour hearing about his vision for implementing the nation’s new federal education law. Senators also asked about his plans to ensure that the department’s trillion-dollar federal student loan program is fair to borrowers and taxpayers; about his plans to fix security weaknesses in databases that hold sensitive personal information of students and loan recipients; and about the Obama administration’s oppositions to vouchers.  But the tone was collegial and there appeared to be bipartisan optimism that King’s confirmation will go smoothly. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the education committee and former education secretary under George H.W. Bush, noted at the start of Tuesday’s hearing that his own confirmation hearing took place 25 years ago this month.

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

PA Legislature Joint public hearing-on Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
PA House and Senate Education Committees
03/14/2016 10:30 AM Hearing Room #1 North Office Bldg

PSBA Advocacy Forum & Day on the Hill
APR 4, 2016 • 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the third annual Advocacy Forum on April 4, 2016, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. This year’s event will have a spotlight on public education highlighting school districts’ exemplary student programs. Hear from legislators on how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. Government Affairs will take a deeper dive into the legislative priorities and will provide tips on how to be an effective public education advocate. There will be dedicated time for you and your fellow advocates to hit the halls to meet with your legislators on public education. This is your chance to share the importance of policy supporting public education and make your voice heard on the Hill. Online advanced registration will close on April 1, 4 p.m. On-site registrants are welcome.

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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