PASA-PASBO - Of 334 surveyed districts:
100% report increased mandated costs for pensions in 2016-17
84% report increased mandated costs for health care in 2016-17
Continued Cuts: Losing Confidence, Losing Learning
The PASA-PASBO Report on School District Budgets June 2016
Write-in votes cast in April primary change complexion of some legislative, congressional races
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | firstname.lastname@example.org Email the author | Follow on Twitter on June 06, 2016 at 7:11 PM, updated June 06, 2016 at 8:00 PM
The write-in votes cast in the April 26 primary have been counted. With one exception, the outcome is now known and has changed the complexion of some state legislative and congressional races. Incumbents who may have thought they could rest on their laurels now realize they may have to hit the campaign trail if they want to return to their elected post.
Among them are two powerful Republican legislative leaders: House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.
A June 30 budget? Gov. Wolf isn't saying: Tuesday Morning Coffee
Penn Live By John L. Micek | email@example.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on June 07, 2016 at 6:09 AM, updated June 07, 2016 at 6:13 AM
THE MORNING COFFEE
Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
With little more than three weeks to go before the deadline to pass a new state budget, Gov. Tom Wolf isn't saying whether Pennsylvania will have an on-time spending plan. On Monday, Wolf said administration budget negotiators are "trying to get things to the point where we're not here for a long time this year," The Associated Press reports. But the York County Democrat didn't say whether that meant the state would hit the June 30 mark, The AP noted. Leaders in the Republican-controlled House and Senate have said they plan to get a budget onto Wolf's desk before the new fiscal year begins at July 1 at 12:01 a.m.
Wolf declines to say whether state will meet budget deadline
AP State Wire By MARK SCOLFORO June 6, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to work in Harrisburg on Monday with just weeks left to avert a repeat of last year's budget fiasco, a process that wasn't resolved until Gov. Tom Wolf let budget legislation become law without his signature in March and April. Wolf, a Democrat, won't predict whether talks with the Republican-controlled Legislature will produce a new budget by the time the coming fiscal year kicks off on July 1. "I wouldn't be someone to make a prediction," Wolf said as he left his Capitol offices. He said negotiators were "moving" and "trying to get things to the point where we're not here for a long time this year."
Deadline looming, will state budget be on time this year?
ABC27 By Dennis Owens Published: June 6, 2016, 6:23 pm
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – T-minus 25 days and counting.
The Pennsylvania budget is due June 30. Last year, it was a historic nine months late.
“I can’t sit here with a straight face and say we’re gonna get this done on time because I don’t even know if there is an on time anymore,” Representative Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery) said. Last year, there was much to divide Democrats and Republicans. This year, they both agree, at least, on one point. “We can’t have a repeat of what happened last year,” Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne/Pike/Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming) said. “The budget is a core mission and a core function and we’ll be working diligently over the next few weeks to have something in place. I don’t want to go home without a vote and I’d certainly prefer to have a budget done on time.” “Nobody wants to go through a protracted impasse like last year,” agrees Jeff Sheridan, Governor Wolf’s spokesman. “It did damage to human service agencies. It did damage to our schools. We don’t want to go through that again. We can’t go through that again.”
OK, so neither side wants a protracted standoff. Both sides also generally agree that the books don’t balance to the tune of at least $1.2 billion.
Retiree’s Capitol vigil puts legislators on the clock with his pension reform
Post Gazette By Carley Mossbrook / Harrisburg Bureau June 6, 2016 12:00 AM
HARRISBURG — On any given day, hordes of state Capitol visitors pass Barry Shutt.
The 68-year-old Harrisburg-area resident with bifocals and white, wispy hair sits quietly in a lawn chair outside the statehouse cafeteria. Next to him rests what he calls the “Doomsday clock,” one showing the ever-growing total of the state’s pension debt — adding $158 each second, according to calculations that Mr. Shutt said he received from two pension experts. For nearly two years, the retired state employee and Army veteran has maintained his one-man “vigil” a few days a week to lobby against a state pension system that he says has reached $66 billion in 15 years — and provides even him with generous retirement benefits. But unlike the well-paid lobbyists who pass his post on their way to lunch, Mr. Shutt makes his case for hours, without pay, because he says he cares about the state’s fiscal health and the effect the growing debt could have on future generations.
“School officials say cuts and tax increases are necessary to counter the fact that a growing share of their budgets is being eaten by mandated expenses.
"Districts project increases in mandated expenses for pensions (100 percent), health care (84 percent), special education (88 percent), and charter schools (77 percent), higher in every category than in previous reports," the study stated.
Pension obligations have risen rapidly over the last few years as a consequence of state policy decisions and too-sunny market projections. This year, districts expect a staggering 24 percent increase in their pension payments.”
Survey of Pa. school officials predicts widespread staff cuts and property tax hikes
Forty-six percent of districts say they will reduce staff in 2016-17.
by Kevin McCorry Newsworks June 6, 2016 — 12:53pm
A survey of Pennsylvania superintendents and school business officials offers a bleak portrait of the state of education in the commonwealth. With mandated costs growing faster than revenues, districts across the state report that they are planning to cut staff, increase class sizes, and curtail programs and extracurriculars — all while raising local property taxes. The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) started conducting surveys of their members in 2010-11, as a way to document the effects of budget cuts. This year's survey offered "the worst outlook." "No one imagined that in all this time, state policymakers would still have failed to take meaningful action to curb growing expenses or that the state share of school funding would still be declining," said the report. "No one imagined that our school leaders would be losing confidence in state policy makers and students would still be losing learning opportunities."
Survey Finds Budget Impasse, Cost Increases Stress School District Finances
PA Capitol Digest by Crisci Associates June 6, 2016
As Pennsylvania’s school districts work to balance and finalize their 2016-17 budgets on the heels of the nine-month state budget impasse, unchecked mandated cost increases and unpaid state school construction reimbursements are forcing school districts across the Commonwealth to cut instructional and extracurricular programs, reduce classroom and other staff and increase local property taxes. These findings are revealed in the latest school budget survey conducted by the PA Association of School Business Officials and the PA Association of School Administrators, and represent the most current, comprehensive financial picture for Pennsylvania’s public schools. The report, titled “Continued Cuts: Losing Confidence, Losing Learning,” documents the ongoing impact of the 2015-16 budget impasse and cumulative effect of six years of mandated expenses outpacing state funding, resulting in shifting the tax burden to local property taxpayers combined with cuts to staff and educational programming.
“The two associations blame the problem on the cumulative impact of six years of mandated expenses in areas like pension payments and charter school payments outpacing state funding. Schools still feel the impact of the nine-month state budget impasse that wasn’t fully resolved until April.”
Schools survey shows budget woes
Standard Speaker BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF PUBLISHED: JUNE 7, 2016
HARRISBURG — Public school officials warned Monday of a double punch of program cuts and property tax hikes across Pennsylvania as lawmakers returned to wrestle with state budget challenges. Eighty-five percent of school districts plan to increase property taxes for fiscal 2015-16, 50 percent plan to cut or eliminate academic and extracurricular programs and 46 percent plan to reduce staff, according to a survey released by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators. The survey is based on responses by 355 of the 500 school districts spread throughout all 67 counties between April 4 and April 29. Schools are on a “march backward,” said Jay Himes, PASBO executive director, describing the survey results at a Capitol news conference.
Districts detail budget dilemma
Public Opinion Staff report 6:37 p.m. EDT June 6, 2016
WAYNESBORO - A new education funding formula may be on the books in Pennsylvania, but local school districts must first flex some budgeting muscle just to make sure they pull in the money needed to operate in the coming school year. In a statement issued Monday by the office of Rep. Paul Schemel, R-Franklin County, Greencastle-Antrim School District Superintendent Greg Hoover and Waynesboro Area School District Superintendent Sherian Diller, along with Schemel, detailed the dilemma that the state's 2015-16 budget crisis further placed on school districts and how it extends into the current budget season.
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JUNE 7, 2016
BY JOHN E. USALIS / PUBLISHED: JUNE 7, 2016
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM Thursday, June 23, 2016
Dr. Lee Burket, Director, Bureau of Career & Technical Education, PA Department of Education
Jackie Cullen, Executive Director, PA Association of Career & Technical Administrators
Dr. William Kerr, Superintendent, Norwin School District
Laura Fisher, Senior Vice President - Workforce & Special Projects, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
James Denova, Vice President, Benedum Foundation