Thursday, March 10, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup March 10: PSBA: "We regret that it has come to this, but it is the right thing to do”

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup March 10, 2016:
PSBA: "We regret that it has come to this, but it is the right thing to do”


“We are hearing from too many districts that without state funding, they are seriously contemplating closing schools, if not this academic year, certainly in the fall. Schools need immediate relief now from this man-made problem. The ramifications of no budget and schools shutting down is extremely serious for the stability of Pennsylvania,” Mr. Mains said.
PSBA asks court to order state payment of subsidies
Application for Special Relief filed as districts continue to struggle while budget impasse continues.
By Mary Niederberger / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette March 9, 2016 4:41 PM
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association today filed an Application for Special Relief in Commonwealth Court asking that the state be ordered to pay school districts all state subsidies that were due as of Feb. 25.  In addition, the application asks the court to order that all payments to school districts be made on a timely basis according to the state School Code and at levels no less than those paid in the 2014-15 school year.  The action is filed against state Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, Treasurer Timothy Reese and the state Department of Education.  The state budget impasse has prevented districts from getting any of their state subsidies until early January when Gov. Tom Wolf released a sum equivalent to the districts first six months of funding from last year.  A number of districts had to borrow money to make it through the first half of the year and that disbursement helped to repay those loans. For other districts the money came just in time to prevent them from having to borrow to pay their bills.  However, no additional state subsidies have been paid since and some districts have discussed closing their doors.
“We regret that it has come to this, but it is the right thing to do for our members,” PSBA executive director Nathan Mains said in a statement.

School boards ask court to order state release money their districts are owed
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on March 09, 2016 at 6:22 PM
A statewide association representing school boards is asking Commonwealth Court to order the state to resume paying money owed to school districts that has gotten held up by the ongoing state budget dispute.  The Pennsylvania School Boards Association on Wednesday filed an application for special relief in the Commonwealth Court to force the state to pay districts immediately what they should have gotten on Feb. 25 and continue making timely payments as the School Code requires based at least on the amount that was appropriated in 2014-15, the last finalized state budget Pennsylvania had.  "We regret that it has come to this, but it is the right thing to do for our members," said the association's executive director Nathan Mains. "We are hearing from too many districts that without state funding, they are seriously contemplating closing schools, if not this academic year, certainly in the fall."

PA School Boards Association files relief application Wednesday, calls for release of districts' owed subsidies
Bucks County Courier Times by Adrian Sipes, staff writer Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 4:26 pm
With the state budget impasse burning a hole in the pockets of the state's school districts, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association filed an application for special relief Wednesday.  The filing calls for the secretary of education, the treasurer and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to immediately pay school districts the subsidies that were to be paid Feb. 25, according to a PSBA statement.   The association is also asking Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to order all future payments be made in a timely manner in accordance with the school code and at "levels no less than the levels paid in the 2014–2015 school year," the statement read.  PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains noted the association's displeasure with having to take such drastic measures, but said it was a necessary move.   "We are hearing from too many districts that without state funding, they are seriously contemplating closing schools. If not this academic year, certainly in the fall," Mains said in the statement.   "Schools need immediate relief now from this man-made problem. The ramifications of no budget and schools shutting down is extremely serious for the stability of Pennsylvania," he said. 

PSBA News Release March 9, 2016: PSBA takes court action to force the release of funds owed to schools
Today, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) filed an Application for Special Relief in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania asking the Court to order the Secretary of Education, the Treasurer and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to pay school districts immediately all subsidies that were due to be paid on February 25, 2016. PSBA also is asking the Court to order that all payments to school districts be made on a timely basis in accordance with the School Code into the future at levels no less than the levels paid in the 2014-15 school year.
“We regret that it has come to this, but it is the right thing to do for our members,” said PSBA Executive Director Nathan Mains. “We are hearing from too many districts that without state funding, they are seriously contemplating closing schools, if not this academic year, certainly in the fall. Schools need immediate relief now from this man-made problem. The ramifications of no budget and schools shutting down is extremely serious for the stability of Pennsylvania.”  The underlying lawsuit, filed in January 2016 by PSBA, is still making its way through the legal system. It seeks continued timely release of federal and state funds owed to school districts across the commonwealth. PSBA believes that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is violating Article III, Section 14 of the state constitution, the supremacy clause of the federal constitution, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit also asks the court to award damages to school districts to compensate them for all interest and expenses incurred as a result of schools borrowing nearly $1 billion since the start of the budget impasse. Due to the exploding fiscal emergency for schools, the application filed today asks the court to direct that relief immediately, rather than wait until the underlying case is fully tried and decided on the merits.

Pennsylvania School Boards Ask Court to Order State to Pay Districts
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville on March 9, 2016 5:57 PM
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is asking the court to compel the state to immediately pay school districts subsidies they should have received by Feb. 25.
It's the latest move in a lawsuit the group filed in January against the state treasurer, education secretary, governor, and other state officials over the state's failure to pay school districts all federal and state funds because of a protracted budget stalemate.
The January lawsuit also demanded that the state reimburse the districts for expenses they incurred while trying to stay afloat during the budget crisis.  Through January, Pennsylvania school districts had borrowed nearly $1 billion to stay open.  According to the school boards' association, the subsidies are disbursed to districts at five points during the year—on the last Thursday of August, October, December, and February and on the first day of June.
The school boards' association demand is for the Feb. 25 payments. It also wants all future payments to be made on time and for the state to pay each district no less than that district received in the 2014-15 school year.

 “Continuing to rely on accounting gimmicks and tax shifts to get by has resulted in five credit downgrades over three years. Nonpartisan credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poors have already warned that if Pennsylvania continues on its current path, it’s headed for further credit downgrades. The state already has one of the worst credit ratings in the nation.  We are in a fiscal crisis that requires action.  Since 2011, school districts in the state have raised local property taxes by $1.2 billion as a direct result of the drastic cuts made by the previous administration.”
State must increase revenue or cut programs to pay bills
Lancaster Online Opinion by Rep. P. Michael Sturla | Special to LNP  Mar 8, 2016
 State Rep. P. Michael Sturla, whose 96th State House District includes all of Lancaster city and parts of Lancaster and Manheim townships, is chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee.
The 2016-17 budget season is already upon us, and the 2015-16 budget is still at an impasse. Regardless of anyone’s political stripes, the reality is that the commonwealth is facing a $2 billion structural deficit.  Just maintaining the status quo of last year’s spending levels leaves the state $500 million short this year and adds to the deficit. While we need to ensure that every taxpayer dollar is used efficiently and effectively, that is not enough.  Pennsylvania needs either to increase revenues or to cut drastically programs such as education and human services just to pay the bills.  Continuing to rely on accounting gimmicks and tax shifts to get by has resulted in five credit downgrades over three years. Nonpartisan credit rating agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poors have already warned that if Pennsylvania continues on its current path, it’s headed for further credit downgrades. The state already has one of the worst credit ratings in the nation.
We are in a fiscal crisis that requires action.  Since 2011, school districts in the state have raised local property taxes by $1.2 billion as a direct result of the drastic cuts made by the previous administration. In Lancaster County, 14 of 17 school boards voted to raise property tax rates for the 2015-16 fiscal year. These are very real examples of how, when the state does not pay its fair share, our local municipalities are left to foot the bill.

Pa's endless impasse proves we need to fix the way we pass budgets: Lisa Baker
PennLive Op-Ed  By Lisa Baker on March 09, 2016 at 2:00 PM, updated March 09, 2016 at 10:49 PM
State Sen. Lisa Baker, a Republican, represents the 20th Senate District, which includes parts of Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.
People argue about everything these days, but that assertion is really hard to refute.
The entrenched political, philosophical, and regional differences found across Pennsylvania mean the state budget process is unlikely to ever be straightforward and harmonious.   Throw in negative economic and fiscal factors complicating the situation, and the odds are against a healthy budget surplus easing the discord soon.   Those who want to expand state government and those who want to shrink it fight more fervently.   Put these factors together, and the conclusion is discouraging: our state faces a succession of difficult budgets, and that increases the chances for continuing budget crisis.  Fortunately, legislators have the power to fix this broken process, and need just to find the will.

Pa. budget problems start at the top with Gov. Wolf
York Daily Record Opinion by Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Guest Writer12:10 p.m. March 9, 2016
Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill is a Republican from York Township.
This week’s news that the Red Lion Area School District is facing bankruptcy turned a few heads. It is assumed the current state budget funding impasse would first affect smaller and more rural school districts. When a large, suburban district with an enrollment of more than 5,200 students says it plans to begin tapping reserves on April 1, you know the problem is serious.  This should concern every one of Pennsylvania’s more than 12.8 million citizens. I would like to offer the following reminders to those of you who may have forgotten or are unaware of what has happened to this point:

“As government entities, school districts are not supposed to make money; however, the reverse is true — schools are not supposed to lose money on noneducational needs like interest payments on loans they never expected to be obligated for.   The latest statewide figure of incurred interest payments for short-term borrowing for schools is $50 million.  I might be off a little on that figure because the auditor general recently estimated the borrowing total to be $1 billion.  Thanks, governor.  Where is that line item in the budget, old or new?”
The irony of the Pa. state budget
York Daily Record Opinion by Joe Stafford, Guest Writer12:52 p.m. EST March 9, 2016
The pop rock song “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette was released 20 years ago.  It’s a funky tune with humorous lyrics.  If you don’t know it, you’re likely to be musically out of touch like me — previously stuck in the 1980s with my vinyl record collection.  Thanks to that “inter-web” thing, I’m now catching up on a lot of cool music.  So it was ironic that I found the song “Ironic” while searching for something else.  The song has been parodied, critiqued by grammarians and even updated lately by the songwriter herself to reflect some technology changes such as Facebook and Waze (whatever that is).  Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly could take heed from this song if they seriously considered the budget impasse.  Neither side really understands the irony they have created on so many issues.  Let’s look at education funding — probably the most highlighted sticking point.

 “Carbondale Area, which had considered closing the district’s doors without state funding, took out a $2.3 million loan in October and received a partial state subsidy in January. As of Monday, the district had about $2.6 million in the bank, enough to make payroll five times.  During the treasurer’s report Tuesday, Director Joseph Totsky noted Carbondale Area did not receive a state subsidy in February because the state Department of Education took money from the district for charter school and pension payments.  “Our state Legislature is making an absolute joke of the public school system,” Mr. Smedley said.”

Carbondale Area OKs school debt refinancing, blasts state impasse

KATHLEEN BOLUS, STAFF WRITER Published: March 9, 2016
CARBONDALE — School directors in Carbondale Area on Tuesday approved refinancing $6.9 million in debt and delaying a $576,000 debt payment — decisions they blamed on the lingering state budget impasse.  “This is not a transaction we would have preferred to have done, but again, this is caused by inactivity in Harrisburg, and it has just created catastrophic effects ... to school districts,” said David Cerra, Carbondale Area business manager. The state has been operating without a budget for 252 days.  The full board unanimously approved refinancing over the next seven years the district’s bonds from 2010. Board President Gary Smedley released tentative fees associated with the refinancing, which are pending approval of the district’s bond rating. The fees, totaling $57,350, include $23,000 for bond counsel and a $7,500 solicitor’s fee.  Carbondale’s bond rating was A but dropped down to BB+ in December, Mr. Cerra said. The district is hoping to receive an updated rating today, which may affect fees the district will pay.  The delayed debt payment of $576,000 is a process referred to as a “scoop and toss.”  “The plan is we will scoop out and toss that payment to the back end of the deal in seven years,” said Mr. Cerra. “The reason being is, again, due to the situation in Harrisburg.”

“PENSION NIGHTMARE: The Erie School District is on the verge of bankruptcy because of a structural deficit tied to rising pension costs and charter school tuition.”
Rising pension costs are part of why Erie schools are going broke
Watchdog.org By Evan Grossman  /   March 9, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments
Part 2 of 2 in the series Erie's Ailing Schools
Aside from a troubled economy and the denuded tax base that goes with it, the structural deficit choking the life out of the Erie School District has two major contributors.  
Chief among the pile of expenses facing the district are skyrocketing pension payments and a change in the way the state reimburses districts for students who switch to charter schools. Like many districts across Pennsylvania, these two factors have contributed mightily to Erie’s budget deficit, which officials estimate anywhere between $3 million and $9 million, depending on how much state funding it qualifies for over the next two years.  “We probably won’t be able to make payroll in two to three years,” Erie Superintendent Jay Badams told Watchdog.

“In the presentation, Mr. Glynn said one of the major expenses incurred by Lackawanna Trail is the $592,000 paid for charter school tuition. Another major expense is the $900,000 the district has to pay for pensions this year.”
Officials warn of financial crisis in Lackawanna Trail
Times Tribune BY C.J. MARSHALL Published: March 10, 2016
A financial crisis could have dire consequences in the Lackawanna Trail School District, officials warned during a packed school board meeting Monday night.  The district has asked the state Department of Education for an exception that could raise taxes 6 to 7 percent next year. Other cost-saving measures, including a pay freeze, are possible.  A projected budgetary shortfall of approximately $700,000 is on tap and district business manager Keith J. Glynn used the bulk of Monday’s two-hour meeting to explain the crisis and receive input.  Mr. Glynn noted that the district would realize approximately $494,000 in additional tax revenue if the state approves the exception. The district should learn later this month whether the state will approve an increase above the 3.1 percent cap. Any tax increase would still need to be approved by the school board.
The exact amount of the projected shortfall is hard to predict because the state has not yet approved its 2015-16 budget, Mr. Glynn explained.

Penn-Trafford School District considers line-of-credit loan during state budget impasse
Trib Live BY TOM MCGEE | Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 1:24 p.m.
Though Penn-Trafford School District has about $4.5 million in reserve funds, it may take out a loan if a state budget isn't passed soon.  Board members will vote Monday whether to allow the district's administration to take out a line of credit or secure a loan if needed. Business manager Brett Lago said the district has not had to tap into its reserve funds but wants to be prepared if needed.  Lago said he was unsure how much the district could ultimately seek to borrow but could look to take out up to $10 million.  Superintendent Matthew Harris said if the board gives authorization to borrow money, officials will wait until it is absolutely necessary to seek out a loan.

“Throughout last year, in which legislative productivity was so low not even the basic task of passing a budget got done (still hasn't, by the way), lawmakers collected nearly $1 million more in expenses than in the prior year…. Their base pay is $85,339. Leaders get much more. They all get annual automatic raises, no matter their performance, and great health and pension benefits.”
Money for nothin' and perks for free
by John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist. Updated: MARCH 9, 2016 — 6:51 AM EST
YOU LIKELY DON'T need another excuse to loathe our bloated, do-nothing Legislature. But, what the heck, how about a little piling on?  Throughout last year, in which legislative productivity was so low not even the basic task of passing a budget got done (still hasn't, by the way), lawmakers collected nearly $1 million more in expenses than in the prior year.
This is tax-free money paid as per diems. Up to $185 daily for food and lodging, no receipts required.  You read right: no receipts required.  And, yes, while they didn't fund others, they funded themselves.  Using a right-to-know request, Harrisburg's WHTM-TV, an ABC affiliate, found that the 203-member House paid out more than $2.1 million in per diems; the 50-member Senate, more than $247,000.  For House members, that's an average of more than $10,000 each.  The argument goes, well, they had to be in Harrisburg more (because they couldn't get anything done) and they're working so hard on budget issues (which they couldn't get done).  The truth is, their lack of progress - which forced many nonprofits to curtail social services and/or lay people off, and has school districts borrowing millions to stay open - meant more for their wallets.  No receipts required.

What charter schools are doing to the Philadelphia School District’s budget
BillyPenn.com By Cassie Owens March 9, 2016
If you’ve read about the charter school approval process in the last two years, no doubt you’ve come across a common critique: That our financially hamstrung school district simply can’t afford more charters, making new charters unwise.  The school district, by state law, pays charter schools for each student they educate, plus covers transportation costs. According to the school district’s budget book for the 2016 fiscal year, charter school costs accounted for 18 percent of their operating budget in 2011, steadily rising to 29 percent by 2015.  But is there a certain number of charters that would essentially financially break the district? How many charter approvals or new charter seats would mean insolvency? Experts on both sides of the debate weren’t fans of this question. And there’s no way to tell.

UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT: Directors support lawsuit seeking to fix ed funding
Indiana Gazette by HEATHER BLAKE on March 09, 2016 11:00 AM
EAST WHEATFIELD TOWNSHIP — Directors on Tuesday adopted a resolution supporting school districts and other parties throughout the state serving as plaintiffs in a lawsuit against legislative leaders, state education officials and the governor over the state funding system and availability of resources to all public students in Pennsylvania.
The vote to adopt the resolution was unanimous. Board member Ron Moyer was absent.
The lawsuit was filed Nov. 10, 2014, in Commonwealth Court by The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania and a private firm on behalf of six school districts — William Penn, Lancaster, Panther Valley, Greater Johnstown, Shenandoah Valley and Wilkes-Barre — as well as the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools, a group of approximately 150 small and rural school districts and 13 Intermediate Units across the state; seven parents whose children attend underfunded and under-resourced schools in Philadelphia, William Penn, Lancaster, Greater Johnstown and Shenandoah Valley districts; and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference.

“She noted that data from 2013-2015 showed about 80 percent of approximately 400 incoming kindergarten students scored advanced/proficient on fall screening tests. These children have benefited from quality pre-schools, parent involvement, exposure to a rich environment and more, Reusche said.  About 20 percent, or 80 students a year, “enter our doors with some form of literacy struggles,” said Reusche. These students require intervention, which the district provides through small group instruction, reading specialists, literacy centers, practice readers on tape and other methods.”
Haverford super: Let’s stay with half-day kindergarten
By Lois Puglionesi, Delco Times Correspondent POSTED: 03/09/16, 10:12 PM EST
HAVERFORD >> Superintendent Maureen Reusche presented a report to school directors last week on the feasibility of offering full-day kindergarten programs. The report focused on academic, facilities and financial needs.  School officials agreed to re-examine a topic they’ve considered in the past, after a parent in December presented a petition signed by more than 500 full-day kindergarten supporters. Another parent recently argued that full-day programs benefit children with allergies and medical issues.  Haverford has historically offered half-day kindergarten programs only.  Based on findings, Reusche did not recommend making a change.
Using trend data from the past five years and assuming that full-day programs would lead to increased enrollment, Reusche estimated the district would need to hire an additional 14.5 full-time teachers to staff full-day programs, at an estimated cost of $1.2 million annually. The figure does not include additional lunch monitors and instructional assistants.
The district “would be looking at a 3.4 percent tax increase for staffing alone,” said Reusche.
And full-day programs would require 10-12 new classrooms, at an estimated cost of $3.4 million, said Reusche. She noted that district elementary schools are currently short on space, with older schools facing additional facilities issues.

“one of only 12 students in the world to earn every point possible on the Advanced Placement Calculus Exam”
Ridley senior gets perfect score on AP calculus exam
By Barbara Ormsby, Delco Times Correspondent POSTED: 03/09/16, 10:13 PM EST
RIDLEY TOWNSHIP >> The Ridley School Board, at its March meeting, hailed the accomplishment of Ridley High School senior John Kusner for being one of only 12 students in the world to earn every point possible on the Advanced Placement Calculus Exam.
“John worked hard to achieve this accomplishment. He has earned an impressive accolade as a result. We commend John for this distinguished feat,” said Ridley School District Superintendent Lee Ann Wentzel.  AP Exams are based on a five-point scale, where a five is equivalent to a grade of A in the corresponding college course. Kusner received the top score of five.


Read Aloud Survey: Many Parents Don’t Heed Critical Advice
ReadAloud.org March 9, 2016
Despite widespread agreement among parents that reading aloud has an “extremely positive” impact on brain development, a new survey conducted by YouGov for the non-profit Read Aloud 15 MINUTES also found that fewer than half of parents (46%) read aloud with their children every day, and only 34% do so for at least 15 minutes. Even among those who do read aloud daily, few begin from birth — as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while six in 10 (62%) parents have received the advice to read aloud to their children 15 minutes every day starting from birth, only 8% actually do. “Read Aloud 15 MINUTES believes that when these numbers change — when daily reading aloud, from birth, becomes the national caregiving standard — we will see a drastic change in school readiness,” says the non-profit’s President and Co-Founder, Dr. Candace Kendle. Other key findings:

“In New York, King became known as one of the most polarizing figures in education, clashing frequently with parents and teachers over his efforts to introduce new policies — including new teacher evaluations and new Common Core standards and tests — that the Obama administration was pushing nationwide. Calling those policies “ineffective and destructive,” dozens of activists and writers — including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Diane Ravitch and Jonathan Kozol — wrote a letter urging Congress to reject King’s nomination.”
Senate committee votes to confirm John King, Obama’s nominee for education secretary
Washington Post By Emma Brown March 9 at 11:34 AM  
The Senate education committee voted 16 to 6 in favor of confirming John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary on Wednesday, cementing education as a rare area of bipartisan compromise in an otherwise deeply divided Congress.  King’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for final approval.  King, 41, has been serving as acting secretary since his predecessor Arne Duncan stepped down at the end of 2015. A former teacher, principal and charter-school founder, he led New York’s state education department from 2011 until 2014, when he joined the U.S. Education Department.  President Obama formally nominated King last month, saying at the time that “there is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable.”


Ravitch: Help Us Raise Money to Help Our Allies
Diane Ravitch’s Blog March 6, 2016
The Network for Public Education Action Fund exists to help friends of public schools compete for election to state and local school boards, as well as other elected offices.  We can't match the spending of our adversaries, but our numbers are far greater than theirs. If we get our friends and neighbors to vote, if we get every parent and teacher to vote, we would win every  seat.
 We have the power to reclaim and rebuild our schools, making them palaces of learning rather than dreary places to take tests.

PA Legislature Joint public hearing-on Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) March 14
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 April 4th
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.

Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) 2016 Education Congress April 6-7, 2016
professional development program for school administrators
Focus: "The Myths of Creativity: The Truth about How Innovative Companies Generate Great Ideas"  Featured Presenter: Dr. David Burkus
April 6-7, 2016 Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in Camp Hill
The program will focus on how school leaders can develop and utilize creativity in education management, operations, curriculum and leadership goals. The second day will allow participants to select from multiple discussion/work sessions focusing on concepts presented by Dr. Burkus and facilitated by school leaders who have demonstrated success in creative thinking and leadership in schools across the commonwealth.
Deadline for hotel accommodations: March 15
See the PASA website for more information at: www.pasa-net.org/2016edcongress.

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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