• Audiology services
• Hearing-impaired services
• Nursing services
• Nurse practitioner services
• Occupational therapy services
• Orientation, mobility and vision services
• Personal care services
• Physical therapy services
• Physician services
• Psychiatric services
• Psychological services
• Social work services
• Specialized transportation services
York Dispatch OPED by Sen. Mike Folmer, 48th Senate District Published 11:49 a.m. ET March 16, 2017
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 16, 2017 9:31 PM
(Harrisburg) -- One of Harrisburg's perennial headaches is heading back to the legislative spotlight as Senate Republican leaders work to push a familiar pension bill through the chamber. Last session, GOP lawmakers made a late-in-the-game attempt to pass a pension overhaul that would have offered state employees three retirement options--two so-called "hybrid" plans, and a 401k-style plan. At the time, Governor Tom Wolf indicated he'd sign it. But the plan didn't get full votes because House and Senate Democrats refused to support it, saying they hadn't gotten enough input. Now, a virtually identical proposal is back. The only change is a new option for employees on the older-style pension plans to jump onto the new one. House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton said his caucus thinks the proposal would be worse than the current pension system, which has been in place since 2010. "For any bill to deserve and win our support, pension changes must save money for the state rather than raising costs, as this plan would," he said. "And it must pay down the pension debt measurably faster than the law that's already in effect." In a separate interview, Senate GOP spokeswoman Jenn Kocher countered that it's time for the Senate Democrats to compromise on a bill that actually has a shot at passing.
Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: MARCH 20, 2017
Letter to Standard Speaker by MICHELE PLANUTIS / PUBLISHED: MARCH 16, 2017
York Dispatch by Jason Addy , 505-5437/@JasonAddyYDPublished 8:03 p.m. ET March 15, 2017 | Updated 20 hours ago
This is how to get rid of gerrymandered districts
Washington Post By Ryan D. Williamson, Michael Crespin, Maxwell Palmer and Barry C. Edwards March 17 at 8:00 AM
Are American legislative districts drawn fairly — or are they tilted to make it easier for Republicans to win? Many observers believe that the answer is that they’re unfair — and believe that the United States needs dramatic reforms in how it draws those districts to ensure that voters aren’t disenfranchised and their voices are indeed heard. We analyzed how different institutions over the past 45 years have drawn districts — and when the results are most likely to be less gerrymandered. Here’s what we found.
How important is redistricting reform?
Former president Barack Obama and former attorney general Eric Holder are focusing on combating gerrymandering and opposing redistricting plans that make it harder to Democrats to win. Meanwhile, state and federal courts have been searching for a simple legal standard by which to evaluate gerrymandering. The efficiency gap proposed in the Whitford v. Gill case offers one potential solution. This measures the number of “wasted” votes — those cast for losing candidates or for winning candidates beyond what was needed to win. All elections contain some wasted votes, but gerrymandered maps may produce more. Next, the measure compares the number of wasted votes from either party relative to all votes cast in the election. A positive difference between these numbers indicates an electoral advantage for the party with fewer wasted votes. While the courts keep looking for an effective standard, a few states have tried different ways to draw districts that can reduce gerrymandering and improve representation.
GOP health plan would hit state budgets hard: Moody's
CNBC by John W. Schoen | @johnwschoen Saturday, 18 Mar 2017 | 10:14 AM ETCNBC.com
A GOP-proposal to shift health-care costs to the states has many governors worried that the plan would create a financial squeeze on their budgets. Now, municipal bondholders can share those concerns. The Republican-proposed bill to replace Obamacare would hurt the credit ratings for U.S. states, according to Moody's Investors Service, because it would shift a greater share of the cost of Medicaid to the states. That could raise borrowing costs for states and lower the value of bonds already held by investors. The joint state-federal Medicaid program for low-income households grew rapidly under the six-year-old Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, and has been consuming a larger share of many state budgets every year.
Trump Ed. Dept. Has Yet to Hit the Accelerator
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein March 17, 2017
Under the last two presidents, the U.S. Department of Education was a mighty—and mighty well-funded—agency. But, all signs point to it being much sleepier under President Donald Trump.
For one thing, the department’s bottom line may be about to plummet. Trump has proposed a 13 percent cut in funding for the agency, to $59 billion for the coming fiscal year. That could mean serious reductions to the department’s current workforce of about 4,000 employees. The Trump administration also has been slow to hire a support team—even though the department is about to face the mammoth task of reviewing dozens of state plans to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act. Those plans are due to start rolling in the beginning of next month.
Some educators and advocates—and even a few career staffers working inside the agency—say that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ priorities remain hazy, beyond a push for school choice.
The picture is a sharp contrast to the early days of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Under Obama in 2009, Secretary Arne Duncan and his team were burning the midnight oil just weeks after taking office, trying to figure out how to help school districts and states make the best use of $100 billion in new money for education amid the nation’s dire economic circumstances.
With No Senate-Confirmed Appointees, Who’s Helping DeVos Run the Education Department?
The 74 by CAROLYN PHENICIE firstname.lastname@example.org cphenicie March 19, 2017
Trump's late Ed Dept appointments, confirmations hurt operations, former Obama officials say
One of the main criticisms leveled at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during her confirmation process was her lack of experience in education policy, and during her often-confrontational Senate hearing, she vowed to rely on department staff to help guide her in unfamiliar territory.
So far, though, DeVos is on her own. As of March 16, no one has been announced or formally nominated to fill the 14 posts within the Education Department that require Senate confirmation, such as general counsel and deputy secretaries. That is much slower than the Obama administration and, former officials say, impairs the department’s work in important ways.
“You would think that this administration would be working really hard to get people in place very quickly because it was very obvious that [DeVos] did not have a lot of expertise about school systems, postsecondary systems, or the specific federal programs she’s charged with implementing,” said Carmel Martin, who served as assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development under President Obama. Martin is now the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank that has sharply criticized the Trump administration.
The 2017 PenSPRA Symposium Keeping Current: What’s New in School Communications April 7th Shippensburg
Join PenSPRA Friday, April 7, 2017 in Shippensburg, PA 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with evening social events on Thursday, April 6th from 5 - 8 p.m. at the Shippensburg University Conference Center
The agenda is as follows: Supporting transgender students in our schools (9 am), Evaluating School Communications to Inform Your Effectiveness (10:30 am), and Cool Graphics Tools Hands-on Workshop (1:15 pm).
The $150 registration fee also includes breakfast, lunch and Thursday’s social! You can find more details on the agenda and register for the Symposium here:
Pennsylvania public schools are currently at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding to help pay for mandated services for students with special needs.
A PSBA Closer Look March 2017
Plan to join public education leaders for networking and learning at the 2017 NSBA Annual Conference, March 25-27 in Denver, CO. General registration is now open at https://www.nsba.org/conference/registration. A conference schedule, including pre-conference workshops, is available on the NSBA website.