Monday, May 15, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 15: Special ed funding in peril if U.S. Senate passes House bill

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 15, 2017:
Special ed funding would be in peril if U.S. Senate passes House bill



John Dewey: “What the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must we want for all the children of the community. Anything less is unlovely, and left unchecked, destroys our democracy.”



“Under the proposed change, there could be restrictions to: hearing-impaired services, nursing services, occupational therapy services, personal care and physical therapy services, psychological and social work services, speech and language and specialized transportation services, among many other critical support systems,” said Casey Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education.”
KATE GIAMMARISE Pittsburgh Post-Gazette kgiammarise@post-gazette.com 12:00 AM
MAY 15, 2017
The bill passed by the U.S. House to repeal the Affordable Care Act, now being considered by the Senate, would make deep cuts to Medicaid — which threatens millions in special education dollars for local school districts.  The money pays for items such as therapy equipment, portable stair climbers, or a device that might help visually impaired students do their schoolwork, as well as certain aides.  Medicaid, the health insurance coverage for low-income and disabled individuals that is jointly paid for by states and the federal government, reimburses schools for health-related services for special education students.  In Pennsylvania, schools receive about $143 million annually for these services.  Federal law requires schools to have individualized education plans for each special needs child and to provide appropriate services.  In other words, said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, schools are mandated to meet the needs of special education students. The federal cuts would push costs to either the state or local communities.  “The state is going to be challenged to come up with those dollars,” he said.

Schools brace for impact if Congress cuts Medicaid spending
Inquirer by SALLY HO and CAROLYN THOMPSON, The Associated Press Updated: MAY 14, 2017 — 7:20 AM EDT
For school districts still getting their financial footing after the Great Recession, the Medicaid changes being advanced as part of the health care overhaul are sounding familiar alarms.
Administrators say programming and services even beyond those that receive funding from the state-federal health care program could be at risk should Congress follow through with plans to change the way Medicaid is distributed. They say any reduction in the estimated $4 billion schools receive in annual Medicaid reimbursements would be hard to absorb after years of reduced state funding and a weakened tax base.  "If they have less Medicaid money, something's going to go away," said Randy Liepa, superintendent of the Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency, which works with 33 school districts in the Detroit area. The agency covers about 21,000 children with special needs who are on Medicaid and it helps districts recoup about $30 million annually in reimbursements.  Districts would have to look at nonmandated positions and programs if forced to bear more of the costs for services for poor and disabled students required by federal law, said Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

State pension debt won’t magically vanish
‘Shifting risk’ sounds nice. But the most drastic element of pension reform is addressing the $62 billion debt
Post Gazette Opinion by MIRIAM FOX 12:00 AM MAY 14, 2017
Miriam Fox is executive director of the state House Democratic Appropriations Committee.
As a longtime public servant on the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked to remind legislators about the unshakeable truth behind the numbers related to proposed policy changes.  But as the pension reform conversation for teachers and state employees is once again moving toward a bad result, it is very important to share our heightened concern about this with you.  For the past six years, policymakers have been talking about shifting investment risk away from taxpayers and moving employees into a new retirement savings program. Unfortunately, many people and many editorial pages have adopted this notion without considering an important pension element: the $62.2 billion debt.  New retirement benefit plan structures and the shifting risk conversation dangerously miss the point. Retirement savings programs are not the problem. Pennsylvania has a large debt to repay and it needs a guarantee that politicians will never again use the kind of creative financing that got us into this place to begin with. While “shifting risk” sounds good, it doesn’t address the core issue; it circumvents hard choices.

Pa. lawmakers debate whether pension debt could be paid off faster
WHYY Newsworks BY KATIE MEYER, WITF MAY 15, 2017
The debate over how to pay off Pennsylvania's roughly $70 billion unfunded pension liability has seen some movement.  The commonwealth's Independent Fiscal Office recently released an actuarial note estimating a current House measure would save up to $18 billion by paying down the debt faster.  Republican Representative John McGinnis of Blair County is sponsoring the proposal, which would jack up the state's required pension payments by about a half billion dollars in just its first year.  That would shorten the time it would take to pay off the debt. But it also means the commonwealth would have to divert significant funds from other programs.  McGinnis sees it as a good trade-off.  "I think the proper thing is to give priority to your unpaid expenses in the past before you commit to new expenses," he said.

#HB97: Real charter reform not in current bill
TIMES-TRIBUNE Letter by Gary Smedley PUBLISHED: MAY 11, 2017
PRESIDENT, CARBONDALE AREA SCHOOL BOARD
Editor: Charter schools have been around for 20 years but the law that created them has changed little. It’s time for some meaningful reforms. House Bill 97, however, is not the legislation to do that.  First, when a district denies a request to open a new charter school, charter operators can appeal to the statewide charter appeals board. HB 97 proposes three additional positions on the board that could stack the deck in favor of charters. It would be like a municipality denying a request by corporation X to erect a 50-foot cell tower on the town square only to find the appeal board with the power to overturn the denial is run by corporation X.  Currently, charters operate under an initial term of three years and a renewal term of five years. HB 97 proposes to expand it to five and 10 years, respectively. A child starting in first grade would be in 10th grade before the authorizing district would be able to offer corrections. The bill also proposes only using academic standards to determine if a charter should be renewed. While student performance is most critical, districts should be allowed to take charters’ poor financial practices into consideration.

#HB97: Public charter school reform is needed for students, not the education system
The Notebook Commentary by Tim Eller May 12, 2017 — 12:30pm
Tim Eller is executive director of the Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
As the public charter school reform debate gets under way in the state Capitol, traditional public education establishment organizations, and their supporters, continue to spread misinformation about public charter schools in order to skew the public’s opinion of public school choice.  Fortunately, publicly available data shows that public brick-and-mortar charter schools have a track record of providing high-quality educational programs and services to their students.  While there are a small number of poorly managed and low-performing public charter schools – which should be shut down – the overwhelming majority of public charter schools are overseen and operated by board members, administrators and educators who are honest, hard-working public officials and employees dedicated to providing their students with a high-quality education. Unfortunately, every sector – public and private – has its share of bad actors who cast a negative light on their entire community.  Are reforms needed for public charter schools? Yes, but not for the reasons anti-charter school advocates would have the public believe.  Contrary to popular belief, charter schools, which are public schools funded with taxpayer dollars, are required to follow the same state and federal education, transparency and accountability laws and regulations that apply to school districts, and do not receive any special exemptions or treatment. Public charter schools are not permitted to pick and choose their students. They must use a lottery system for enrollment. In fact, publicly available data shows that public charter schools also enroll and educate students with disabilities.

“Opponents of school choice say programs like tax credits or school vouchers direct money away from and hurt traditional public schools, he said. The argument is especially heated right now because U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has expressed support for expanding such programs nationwide.”
EITC: For low-income students, Crossroads Foundation provides access to better high schools
ELIZABETH BEHRMAN Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Lbehrman@post-gazette.com 12:00 AM MAY 15, 2017
Jalen Cruz beamed as he made his way to the front of the room, took a seat and signed a piece of paper documenting his commitment to attend Clark Atlanta University in Georgia.  Moments later, his twin sister, Sierra, made a similar pledge to attend Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  Their mom snapped photos and cheered along with their classmates. She wasn’t surprised that they made it to “College Signing Day.” She would have worked a second or third job to cover the cost of the Catholic school tuition, she said, but thanks to the Crossroads Foundation, which hosted the Tuesdaycelebration, she didn’t have to.  “They’ve just been so supportive,” Karla Barham of Penn Hills said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place for them to be.”  The Crossroads Foundation, based in Point Breeze, provides scholarships for low-income students “at high risk for school failure” to attend one of the region’s six Catholic high schools. More than 500 students have graduated during the foundation’s 28-year history, and 29 of this year’s 30 graduates are college bound.

Analysis: Businesses could benefit more than individuals in property tax plan
Times Leader By Mark Guydish - mguydish@timesleader.com May 13, 2017
WILKES-BARRE — While stressing that his organization analyzes data but does not make policy recommendations, Matthew Knittel of the Commonwealth’s Independent Fiscal Office ran through property tax elimination proposals before a small crowd Friday and offered mixed expectations.  During a luncheon set up by the Pennsylvania Economy League at the Westmoreland Club, Knittel hinged many observations on an analysis the IFO did regarding Senate Bill 76 of 2013, a proposal that gained widespread support with a promise of completely eliminating school property taxes. That bill failed, but similar proposals have resurfaced.  In a nut shell, school property taxes would be replaced with increases in personal and sales taxes, and in an expansion of what the state sales tax covers. Knittel did review a few other ideas, including plans that would reduce but not eliminate school propriety taxes through similar means, and bills that would let local school districts replace property taxes with local income taxes or business taxes.

Ed Law Center Letter to the Pennsylvania Senate Regarding SB 383, the bill permitting school personnel to carry concealed firearms in schools.
Education Law Center May 2017
With forty-one years of experience working on school climate issues, ELC wrote to Pennsylvania’s Senate Education Committee, urging them to oppose SB 383, the bill permitting school personnel to carry concealed firearms in schools. Arming teachers and other school personnel is not the appropriate way to protect students and ensure schools are safe places.

PSSA opt out choice supported by many but could impact school, teacher evaluations
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO bmilazzo@centredaily.com MAY 13, 2017 9:56 PM
Dozens of local families with children in third to eighth grade are participating in what’s called the opt out movement when it comes to state standardized tests.  One Bellefonte woman, Leah Guizar, is making it her mission to advocate for the cause — not because she’s against testing, but because she doesn’t support the reasoning behind a set of tests that she said cost too much and don’t benefit students.  The state Department of Education allows families to have their child opt out of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, otherwise known as PSSA exams. All families have this option as long as they notify school administrators of their choice.  However, the opt out option could come at a price.  “Opting out can affect how our schools are rated throughout the state,” Philipsburg-Osceola Area Superintendent Gregg Paladina said.  Bellefonte Area Superintendent Michelle Saylor encourages the public to meet with lawmakers to help change education laws regarding testing mandates at the state level.  Michelle Saylor, Bellefonte Area superintendent  They need to hear parents’ voices; they’re tired of hearing our voices, quite frankly, and they shut us down because they know what we’re going to say to them,” she said. “The concerns with the opt out from the district’s perspective is, unfortunately, the way the system is set up, those tests are tied to what we call school improvement… It’s a no-win situation.”
Additionally, Saylor said those tests are also “unfortunately” tied to teacher evaluations.

Bellefonte mom advocating against standardized tests
Centre Daily Times BY BRITNEY MILAZZO bmilazzo@centredaily.com MAY 13, 2017 8:12 PM
Leah Guizar believes good tests prove knowledge and help with student growth.
The mother of three children in the Bellefonte Area School District for the past two years has chosen to opt out her kids from taking the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments, otherwise known as PSSA exams.  She said it’s her way of advocating against state standardized tests, and taking a stand for those who might not fight for themselves regarding the issue.  Her stance is inspired by her oldest daughter, Eden Guizar — a seventh-grader with cerebral palsy who functions on a first- to third-grade level, Guizar said.  Guizar addressed the Bellefonte Area school board at a bi-monthly meeting last month and explained four reasons why her family participates in what’s called the opt out movement: cost of PSSAs; the lack of pragmatic testing; not accommodating to all students; and its original intent to meet the No Child Left Behind act, which was repealed in 2015.

YOUR VIEW: School-voucher system questioned
MAY 10, 2017 BY Stephen Herzenberg Keystone Research Center TIMESLEADER
We appreciate learning from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton that the Diocese distributes across 11 counties taxpayer-funded vouchers for students attending religious and other private schools.  Even these 11 counties as a group, however, receive only 3.6 percent of voucher dollars while they have 9.7 percent of Pennsylvania school-age children. Voucher programs under-serve Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nearly two thirds of voucher dollars go to Philadelphia and its suburbs plus Allegheny County, including Pittsburgh.
Since voucher programs under-serve NEPA, expanding those programs won’t help many area school children. For example, a $55 million increase supported by some lawmakers in voucher dollars would bring only $2 million to the 11 NEPA counties. Allocating those same dollars to public schools using the state’s new funding fair formula would bring the region $5.3 million – since the region has some of Pennsylvania’s most underfunded public schools and highest property taxes.  We also welcome the Scranton Diocese sharing that its Catholic Schools’ curricula could meet state standards that some other religious schools teaching creationism as science could not meet. Given its high standards, we look forward to the diocese adding its voice to advocacy for curriculum accountability needed at all voucher schools – and for financial accountability for voucher funds as well, since there is no accountability of any kind now.

School spending deficit halved as tax hike eyed
Titusville Herald By Sydney Sample Herald Staff Writer Posted May 10, 2017 5:00 am
The spring season has been a time of number crunching for the Titusville Area School District.   In a statement released by the district, it was noted that the administration and financial committee were able to reduce the originally contained deficit of $1,126,000 to $517,694. It was cited in the same statement that the new figure was achieved after several meetings.  The proposed budget is presently at $32,365,690 in expenditures, against $31,241,996 in projected revenues.  Even though there will still be a tax hike for those in the district, the amount comes in under the Act 1 index allowable amount. Business manager Shawn Sampson relayed to board members that the district is looking at a tax increase of $213,803. While it is an increase, Sampson said in an interview that it is $100,000 less than the maximum Act 1 index, of $317,000.  Titusville Area School District administration and the financial committee worked the tax hike in to lower the deficit to $517,694.  It is projected that Crawford County will see an increase of 1.14 mills (2.9 percent); Venango County — 0.28 mills (1.7 percent); and Warren County — 1.32 mills (2.7 percent).  One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in a property’s assessed value.  The district released in the statement that the “major items impacting this budget are the continued increase in the district’s required contribution to the pensions, health insurance cost, and special education cost (which the state and federal government continue to underfund).”
http://www.titusvilleherald.com/news/article_cf2b62f4-34ef-11e7-a73e-47b866278aa0.html#.WRbwmQihRXw.twitter

Port Allegany board concerned about lost revenues for 2017-18
Bradford Era By SIERRA ARCHER Special to The Era
PORT ALLEGANY — Attempting to hammer out a budget for next school year, Port Allegany school board members have concerns over the end of Keystones to Opportunity grants, as well as the possible loss of other funding resources.  As a district, Port Allegany has received more than $2 million in the past five years through  KTO grants, which were developed through federal funding to improve reading outcomes for students at all age levels.  With the possibility of Title II (formerly No Child Left Behind) funding being cut — a little over $60,000 — and some parts of Title I being cut, the school district is facing an upcoming deficit.  “When you couple all of those factors, along with the ending of the KTO grant, the district is looking at a substantial deficit getting into next year,” Superintendent Gary Buchsen said during a school board meeting on Monday.  It was also stated that with the continuing deficit, the district would be considered “in trouble” in about five to six years. Meanwhile, with the loss of two physical education teachers and two elementary school teachers, the district is left with deciding who to hire to fill the positions.  It was noted that the district is tentatively looking at an $80,000 increase in basic education and   special education funding. Board members also discussed other forms of funding to help defray upcoming losses.  There were suggestions of a tax increase, which was approximated to generate at least $100,000 in new revenue, although concerns were raised about the effects the increase would have on families.  No board member agreed on a tax increase and the idea was dismissed. The board approved a proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year of $15,180,918 in a 6 to 1 vote.
http://www.bradfordera.com/news/port-allegany-board-concerned-about-lost-revenues-for/article_dbe60e90-35cb-11e7-9484-3b5443098bb4.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

Phoenixville School Board eyes $90M budget, 1.89%t tax hike
By Eric Devlin, The Mercury POSTED: 05/14/17, 5:11 PM EDT | UPDATED: 4 HRS AGO
PHOENIXVILLE >> Despite some school officials saying they thought there was still some work to do, it appears property owners in the Phoenixville Area School District should get ready for another tax hike.  The school board reviewed the proposed 2017-18 final budget of approximately $90 million, which calls for a 1.89 percent tax increase on Thursday. Under a new millage rate of 29.71 mills, a 1.89 percent tax increase would equate to an additional $74 a year in real estate property taxes for the median $135,000 home assessment. A mill is equal to $1 for each $1,000 of assessed property value. The board is expected to vote on the budget at the May 18 meeting. The board must approve a budget by the June 30 Pennsylvania Department of Education deadline.  If approved, the tax hike would be the fourth lowest in Chester County behind the Oxford, Great Valley and Downingtown school districts, finance director Christopher Gehris said at the May 8 budget meeting.  It would also be the district’s seventh tax increase in the last eight years.  “We now have a couple of years running where we’re increasing taxes on average less than comparable districts,” said board member Eric Daugherty. “A key point is at the same time we’re seeing better than average increases in things like test scores and what not. So the difference between us and other districts is decreasing. We’re getting better learning outcomes and being slightly more economical little by little.”  In January, the board approved a $92.7 million preliminary budget and the district has trimmed it down since then. As of May 8, the district anticipates collecting approximately $89.5 million in revenue, leaving the budget still unbalanced by $500,000 due to use of reserve funding for the Public School Employees Retirement System, said Gehris.

Pay could be docked for some Philly teachers who protested lack of contract
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: MAY 12, 2017 — 5:38 PM EDT
Philadelphia teachers who took off May 1 in part to protest nearly four years without a contract could have their pay docked for that absence, officials confirmed Friday.  About 1,000 School District teachers called out that day, an effort organized by the Caucus of Working Educators, a coalition within the teachers’ union.  The principals of at least nine schools were initially told to dock teachers’ pay, despite the fact that they put in to use personal time they had earned. Late Friday afternoon, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. called Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan and said he was halting that directive until he could gather more information.  District officials could not say how many teachers might lose pay for the day, but 384 teachers used personal days May 1. At some schools, half or more of the faculty took the day off.
Hundreds of teachers shut down part of North Broad Street that day, marching as a sign of their displeasure with the lack of a contract.

Pa. school-choice advocates pump millions into campaigns
Altoona Mirror MAY 14, 2017
HARRISBURG — Wealthy school-choice advocates, wielding millions of dollars in campaign contributions, have sought to play a powerful role in Pennsylvania politics.  All told, more than $10 million from school-choice advocates has made its way into Pennsylvania political campaigns in the past decade.  Much of it came from a suburban Philadelphia trio who helped start Susque­hanna International Group, an investment firm, and give heavily to school choice causes and candidates. And much of it has gone to help Philadelphia state Sen. Anthony Williams, who has run unsuccessfully for mayor and governor as the school choice candidate in the Democratic Party’s primaries.  The Associated Press examined political contributions over a 10-year period by the people who have been major contributors to advance school choice measures such as public charter schools and programs to use taxpayer funding to pay for private school tuition.  In 2010 alone, Arthur Dantchik, Joel Greenberg and Jeffrey Yass gave roughly $5 million to help Williams’ gubernatorial campaign, and then outdid that by pouring roughly $7 million into helping Williams’ campaign for Philadelphia mayor in 2015. Williams lost both times, and remains in the Senate.


The Promise And Peril Of School Vouchers
NPR by CORY TURNER Heard on Morning Edition May 12, 20176:00 AM ET
Wendy Robinson wants to make one thing very clear.  As the long-serving superintendent of Fort Wayne public schools, Indiana's largest district, she is not afraid of competition from private schools.  "We've been talking choice in this community and in this school system for almost 40 years," Robinson says. Her downtown office sits in the shadow of the city's grand, Civil War-era Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. In Fort Wayne, a parking lot is the only thing that separates the beating heart of Catholic life from the brains of the city's public schools.  In fact, steeples dominate the skyline of the so-called City of Churches. Fort Wayne has long been a vibrant religious hub, home to more than 350 churches, many of which also run their own schools.  While the city's public and private schools managed, for decades, to co-exist amicably, that changed in 2011, Robinson says. That's when state lawmakers began the Indiana Choice Scholarship Program, a plan to allow low-income students to use vouchers, paid for with public school dollars, to attend private, generally religious schools.  Six years later, Indiana's statewide voucher program is now the largest of its kind in the country and, with President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos openly encouraging states to embrace private school choice, the story of the Choice Scholarship — how it came to be, how it works and whom it serves — has become a national story of freedom, faith, poverty and politics.

How Google Took Over the Classroom
The tech giant is transforming public education with low-cost laptops and free apps. But schools may be giving Google more than they are getting.
New York Times By NATASHA SINGER MAY 13, 2017
CHICAGO — The sixth graders at Newton Bateman, a public elementary school here with a classic red brick facade, know the Google drill.  In a social-science class last year, the students each grabbed a Google-powered laptop. They opened Google Classroom, an app where teachers make assignments. Then they clicked on Google Docs, a writing program, and began composing essays.  Looking up from her laptop, Masuma Khan, then 11 years old, said her essay explored how schooling in ancient Athens differed from her own. “Back then, they had wooden tablets and they had to take all of their notes on it,” she said. “Nowadays, we can just do it in Google Docs.”  Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the United States, with about 381,000 students, is at the forefront of a profound shift in American education: the Googlification of the classroom.  In the space of just five years, Google has helped upend the sales methods companies use to place their products in classrooms. It has enlisted teachers and administrators to promote Google’s products to other schools. It has directly reached out to educators to test its products — effectively bypassing senior district officials. And it has outmaneuvered Apple and Microsoft with a powerful combination of low-cost laptops, called Chromebooks, and free classroom apps.

“DeVos has not made herself easily available — or available at all — to reporters who are covering her, and the Education Department does not always respond to questions posed by education journalists. Now she is declining an opportunity to address the journalists who cover her.  Some would call that a missed opportunity.”
Betsy DeVos was asked to address education reporters at their annual convention. She said no.
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss May 12 at 2:00 PM 
President Trump listens as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a meeting with parents and teachers at the White House on Feb. 14. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Every U.S. education secretary has found time to address the Education Writers Association convention, and the organization was hoping that Betsy DeVos would agree to do the same thing at its 2017 convention in Washington. It’s not happening.  Caroline Hendrie, EWA executive editor, said the association invited DeVos to speak at the convention right after she was confirmed by the Senate as education secretary on Feb. 7 (which, you may remember, happened only after Mike Pence broke a tie in the Senate, becoming the first vice president in history to do so for a Cabinet nominee).  When no response was forthcoming, Hendrie said the invitation was renewed several times, but it was not until late April that a staff member at the Education Department called to decline. Why? According to Hendrie, “They couldn’t make it work for her schedule.”  The Education Department did not respond to a query about why they couldn’t make it work.  The conference, at the new FutureEd think tank at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, is scheduled for May 31 to June 2, Wednesday through Friday. Though DeVos does not often have public events on Fridays, she does on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/05/12/betsy-devos-was-asked-to-address-education-reporters-at-their-annual-convention-she-said-no/


Please take this 5 minute survey to improve PA schools
Education Law Center/Youth United for Change May 2017
This is a short survey developed by Youth United for Change and the Education Law Center, which we're asking community members statewide - including students, parents, school staff, and others connected to public schools - to complete. The survey asks respondents to share their story to inform legislators about what their school/district needs and how cuts to education have impacted their education. While we'd prefer responses by April 30th, the survey will remain live at least until June. We'd be incredibly appreciative if you could share the survey with your networks - by including the link in your monthly newsletter, sharing via your social media postings, or as its own e-blast - to help as many people as possible share their stories. We expect the survey will take respondents less than 5 minutes to complete and can be completed anonymously.
Access the survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/63Kpa9VckdgQPaBX2
Questions or comments? Contact Michaela Ward at mward@elc-pa.org / 267-825-7710 or Alia Trindle at alia@yucyouth.org / (215) 534-1314.


Nominations for PSBA Allwein Advocacy Award
The Timothy M. Allwein Advocacy Award was established in 2011 by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association and may be presented annually to the individual school director or entire school board to recognize outstanding leadership in legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of public education and students that are consistent with the positions in PSBA’s Legislative Platform.  In addition to being a highly respected lobbyist, Timothy Allwein served to help our members be effective advocates in their own right. Many have said that Tim inspired them to become active in our Legislative Action Program and to develop personal working relationships with their legislators.  The 2017 Allwein Award nomination process will begin on Monday, May 15, 2017. The application due date is July 16, 2017 in the honor of Tim’s birth date of July 16.
https://www.psba.org/2017/05/nominations-allwein-advocacy-award/

Electing PSBA Officers; Applications Due June 1
All persons seeking nomination for elected positions of the Association shall send applications to the attention of the chair of the Leadership Development Committee, during the months of April and May an Application for Nomination to be provided by the Association expressing interest in the office sought. “The Application for nomination shall be marked received at PSBA Headquarters or mailed first class and postmarked by June 1 to be considered and timely filed.” (PSBA Bylaws, Article IV, Section 5.E.).
Open positions are:
·         2017-19 Central Section at Large Representative – includes Regions 4, 5, 6, 9 and 12  (for the remaining two years of a three-year term)
·         2018-20 Western At Large Representative – includes   Regions 1, 2, 3, 13 and 14 (three-year term)
In addition to the application form, PSBA Governing Board Policy 302 asks that all candidates furnish with their application a recent, print quality photograph and letters of application. The application form specifies no less than three letters of recommendation and no more than four, and are specifically requested as follows:
o    One from superintendent or school director of home entity
o    One from a school director from another school district
o    Other individuals familiar with the candidate's leadership skills
PSBA Governing Board Policy 108 also outlines the campaign procedures of candidates.
All terms of office commence January 1 following election.
https://www.psba.org/about/governance/electing-psba-officers/

PSBA Spring Town Hall Meetings coming in May!
Don’t be left in the dark on legislation that affects your district! Learn the latest from your legislators at PSBA Spring Town Hall Meetings. Conveniently offered at 10 locations around the state throughout May, this event will provide you with the opportunity to interact face-to-face with key lawmakers from your area. Enjoy refreshments, connect with colleagues, and learn what issues impact you and how you can make a difference. Log in to the Members Area to register today for this FREE event!
  • Monday, May 15, 6-8 p.m. — CTC of Lackawanna Co., 3201 Rockwell Avenue, Scranton, PA 18508
  • Tuesday, May 16, 6-8 p.m. — PSBA, 400 Bent Creek Boulevard, Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
  • Wednesday, May 17, 6-8 p.m. — Lycoming CTC, 293 Cemetery Street, Hughesville, PA 17737
  • Thursday, May 18, 6-8 p.m. — Chestnut Ridge SD, 3281 Valley Road, Fishertown, PA 15539
For assistance with registration, please contact Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450 ext. 3365.

SAVE THE DATE LWVPA Convention 2017 June 1-4, 2017
Join the League of Women Voters of PA for our 2017 Biennial Convention at the beautiful Inn at Pocono Manor!

Pennsylvania Education Leadership Summit July 23-25, 2017 Blair County Convention Center - Altoona
A three-day event providing an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together
co-sponsored by PASA, the Pennsylvania Principals Association, PASCD and the PA Association for Middle Level Education
**REGISTRATION IS OPEN**Early Bird Registration Ends after April 30!
Keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics, and district team planning and job-alike sessions will provide practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit and utilized at the district level.
Keynote Speakers:
Thomas Murray
, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement 
Breakout session strands:
*Strategic/Cultural Leadership
*Systems Leadership
*Leadership for Learning
*Professional and Community Leadership 
CLICK HERE to access the Summit website for program, hotel and registration information.

Save the Date 2017 PA Principals Association State Conference October 14. 15, 16, 2017
Doubletree Hotel Cranberry Township, PA


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