Saturday, May 27, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup May 27: Campaign for Fair Education Funding May 31st Press Events with Local School & Community Leaders

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup May 27, 2017:
Campaign for Fair Education Funding May 31st Press Events with Local School & Community Leaders

Allegheny County: 10:00 a.m., West Mifflin High School, LGI Room - 91 Commonwealth Avenue, West Mifflin, PA 15122

Bucks County: 10:00 a.m. at Centennial School District Board Room, 433 Centennial Road, Warminster, PA  18974.

Delaware County: 10:00 a.m. at Southeast Delco Kindergarten Center, 1 School Lane, Glenolden, PA  19036.

Montgomery County: 10:00 a.m. at Pottstown High School - 750 N Washington St, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Lehigh County: 5:30 p.m., Corner of 7th and Hamilton, Allentown

Blogger Commentary: I am a Circuit Rider for PA Education working with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding to build support and political will for the establishment of a fair and equitable basic education funding formula and to see that formula adequately funded to make sure all students have the resources they need to succeed.

If you are a member of the press please consider covering events in your area.  If you are a public education advocate please consider attending to show your support.

Pennsylvania ranks 46th nationally in its share of state funding for schools.

Pennsylvania pays for just 37 percent of what it costs to educate our children, one of the lowest state shares in the country.”

That means school districts must pick up a higher share, forcing local leaders to make tough decisions on school programs and real estate taxes to balance their budgets.

The governor has proposed $100 million more in basic education funding, and the State House included that increase in its budget.  In a difficult state budget year, that is welcome, and it is essential that the final budget includes at least that much.

In fact, that increase will not even keep pace with rising mandated costs that schools must cover in the next year; the local share of pension costs alone are projected to increase by $144 million.

The impact of the basic education funding increase could be further undermined by proposed cutbacks in other funding streams, such as school transportation, which could be reduced by $50 million.

Without significant, sustained increases in state education funding, in this and future budgets, it will be years and years before children in many schools have the resources they need for an adequate education.

“Then on Wednesday, May 31, the Campaign for Fair Education Funding will hold a “press event” at 10 a.m. at Pottstown High School.”
Pottstown stepping up its advocacy for fair school funding
POTTSTOWN >> An educator in Pottstown schools for a dozen years, Stephen Rodriguez is getting back to teaching since being named superintendent last month.  He is at the head of an active advocacy effort by the school board, administration and even students to educate state legislators about how Pennsylvania’s famously lopsided school funding policies are harming the district he now leads.  And on Tuesday, May 30, he has invited anyone who is interested to a forum aimed at answering the age-old question on the other side of that equation: “Why are my taxes so high?”  It begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in the high school auditorium.  “I don’t know if we’ll get 12 people or 1,200, but we’ve got to start educating people about what’s going on with school funding and some of the factors that we’re facing as a community,” Rodriguez explained.
Rodriguez and two speakers will also address the second half of the school tax question — “what can I do about it?”  The speakers are Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg from the Public Interest Law Center, who will likely discuss the recently revealed racial bias in Pennsylvania school funding, and Shirlee Howe from Public Citizens for Children and Youth.  “This will be an opportunity for the public to engage and for us to explain to them that we’ve actually cut expenses in the district, but our overall bill is up by $2.5 million, and that is due mostly to state mandates, like pensions,” Rodriguez said.

“However, the formula is only as good as the funding put behind it. Sufficient resources this budget year and in years to come will ensure that all students – no matter where they live – can succeed in school and meet the state’s academic standards.”
Campaign for Fair Education Funding: Pennsylvania’s New Fair Funding Formula
The General Assembly has taken an important first step toward fixing Pennsylvania’s school funding crisis: It adopted a permanent funding formula that will truly benefit every student.
This balanced formula, recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC), removes politics from state school funding decisions, directing money to school districts based on objective factors, such as student enrollment, the needs of the student population, and school district wealth and capacity to raise local revenues.
Its enactment demonstrates what can be achieved when both parties work together for Pennsylvania’s students.

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding is a statewide non-partisan effort made up of organizations that, collectively, represent Pennsylvanians from every corner of the state. Our campaign includes more than 50 education advocacy organizations; teachers and school administrators; representatives of charter schools and traditional public schools; urban and rural interests; business and organized labor; faith-based groups; and community groups.

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