Stephanie King is president of Kearny Friends and a member of the Home and School Association at Gen. Philip Kearny School in Northern Liberties.
Education secretary: this is a tough budget year
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 7, 2017 3:40 AM
(Harrisburg) -- State House members kicked off their third and final week of budget hearings with an all-day Q&A with education officials. Governor Tom Wolf's proposed plan includes a $100 million boost for general education funding, which returns the allocation almost to its 2011 peak. But talk has centered on what's getting cut. With the commonwealth facing a nearly $3 billion structural deficit, the 2017-18 budget proposal is significantly leaner than Wolf's last two. Education Secretary Pedro Rivera noted, that put his department under some pressure. "This was an extremely difficult budget year," Rivera said. "The governor is looking for an additional two billion dollars in efficiencies." Many of the cuts to education spending were borne out of the McKinsey Report--an analysis by a third-party contractor Wolf hired to help him find savings. Rivera says some of the measures--like completely axing state funding for the University of Pennsylvania's Veterinary School--were tough to make, but allowed the department to place high priority on funding preschool, K through 12, and special education.
From: Representative Mike Turzai
To: All House members
Subject: Charter School Seats in School Districts of the First Class and First Class A
I am preparing to introduce legislation to reduce the number of children on waiting lists for charter school enrollment by requiring an increase in available charter school seats in school districts of the first class and first class A. Charter schools are a lifeline for children who otherwise would be forced to attend poorly performing schools based solely on their residence. Particularly in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the number of available charter school seats has not kept up with the high demand for enrollment. As a result, it is estimated that as many as 30,000 students sit on waiting lists in these cities, hoping for an opportunity to enroll in a charter school that meets the needs of these students and their families. To reduce the number of children on charter school waiting lists in the School Districts of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, my proposed legislation will require the following, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year and continuing through the 2021-2022 school year: An expansion of available charter school seats above the number authorized for the immediately preceding school year, either by approval of new charter applications, expansion of permitted enrollment at existing charter schools or a combination of both, by a minimum of 3,000 new seats in a school district of the first class and by a minimum of 500 new seats in a school district of the first class A. New seats established in any school year that exceed the required number of new seats may be applied toward the requirement for the following year.
For each charter revoked or not renewed in a school district of the first class or in a school district of the first class A, establishment of an equivalent number of new charter school seats in another charter school, either by approval of new charter applications, expansion of permitted enrollment in existing charter schools or a combination of both. Through this legislation, we can help ensure that families who seek to choose a charter school education for their children are not prevented from doing so due to enrollment constraints and long waiting lists. Every family should have the opportunity to exercise school choice and not be denied educational opportunities solely because of their address.
Post Gazette By Karen Langley / Harrisburg Bureau March 6, 2017 3:06 PM
The 2016 average SAT scores for each of the public high schools in the state were released by the Pennsylvania Department of Education last week. Nineteen of the Top 25 highest-scoring schools on the college admissions test are located in the five-county Philadelphia region, and for the 16th consecutive year, Julia R. Masterman High School students posted the highest average SAT score – 1978 – in the state. (The education department has reports on its website dating back to 2001.) Masterman is a public magnet school where students are admitted based on their academic performance – as are the other six School District of Philadelphia schools ranking in the Top 10 in the city. The average results for 647 high schools across Pennsylvania were included in the report. An additional 31 high schools were listed in the data without scores because fewer than 11 students took the college admissions test. In addition to the number of students who took the SAT in 2016, the complete report lists each high school's average reading, math and writing score. On each of those three tests, students score between 200 and 800 points, for a maximum total score of 2400. The complete report can be downloaded from the department of education's website.
Forum #5 – Lehigh Valley Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21, 4210 Independence Drive, Schnecksville, PA 18078
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.