Thursday, October 12, 2017

PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 12: PA would fund school districts up to 50% in 1973; now about 38%; local property taxes make up the difference

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Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup Oct. 12, 2017:

Reclaiming Our Democracy: The Pennsylvania Conference to End Gerrymandering Saturday, October 14th, 2017  9:00am-5:00pm Crowne Plaza Harrisburg, PA

‘A huge victory’
PARSS director shares fair funding breakthrough during Wyalusing visit
Towanda Daily Review BY MATT HICKS Editor-in-Chief Oct 10, 2017
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WYALUSING — Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools Executive Director Dr. Edward J. Albert visited the Wyalusing School Board Monday proclaiming “a huge victory.” That victory was a recent state Supreme Court ruling that a lawsuit being pursued by PARSS to bring fair funding to rural schools must be heard by the Commonwealth Court. The decision came a little more than a year after PARSS first presented its case to the Supreme Court, saying that the rich schools keep getting richer while the poor schools keep getting poorer, according to Albert.  “They’re basically saying that under the Constitution, education must be a priority, and the General Assembly hasn’t made education a priority whatsoever,” Albert said. “Going back to when I graduated from high school: The state would fund school districts up to 50 percent in 1973. I know when I left Tulpehocken (as superintendent), they were funding us about 19 or 20 percent, thus the burden falls on all of the taxpayers.” Albert added that the Supreme Court also ruled that funding and opportunity should not be based on zip code. “We’re hoping that the General Assembly looks at that and starts providing more money to fund schools such as yourself and others,” said Albert. PARSS was the only school-related organization to move forward with the lawsuit, according to Albert, although he stressed that his organization works well with those others on a variety of common causes. As the organization waits for the next steps with its lawsuit, Albert said PARSS continues to stay busy with services to member school districts.

Our ongoing - and messy - debate over fixing Pa. school funding | Colin McNickle
Penn Live Guest Editorial By Colin McNickle Updated on October 11, 2017 at 9:40 AMPosted on October 11, 2017 at 9:38 AM
Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank in Pittsburgh.
Should Pennsylvania increase its level of funding for public school districts so that less wealthy districts with low property values are on par with high property wealth districts? Should school district property taxes be abolished and those revenues replaced entirely by the state on an equalized basis or some other "equitable" formula? Should the General Assembly adopt anew provisions of a decade-old "costing-out" study and raise the revenue to implement it? These are among the critical questions likely to be argued when the Commonwealth Court re-hears what still could prove to be the seminal case regarding education funding in the Keystone State, say Eric Montarti and Jake Haulk, scholars at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.   "Could," however, remains the operative word. It was on Sept. 28 that the state Supreme Court, a year after it heard oral arguments in William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania Department of Education, remanded the case back to the lower appellate court.

“Eighty percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds in Lancaster County are not enrolled in a high-quality pre-K program. That means just 20 percent — or 1 in 5 children — are getting the early education they need. Statewide, 36 percent of eligible children are enrolled, but even that number is quite low.”
We need more support and funding for pre-kindergarten programs in Lancaster County
Lancaster Online Editorial The LNP Editorial Board October 12, 2017
THE ISSUE: Four-fifths of eligible Lancaster County children don’t attend high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs, according to a new report produced by the Pennsylvania Principals Association in partnership with the Pre-K for PA Campaign. As LNP staff writer Alex Geli reported last week, the study reveals that most at-risk students — those from low-income households — are missing out on critical pre-K opportunities. That’s despite near-unanimous support of pre-K services among elementary school principals, Geli noted. Perhaps, like preschool learning itself, this requires repetition: Children from low-income families who aren’t afforded the same advantages as other kids need high-quality pre-K. We’ve said it repeatedly. Local educators have said it repeatedly. Local military leaders, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman, United Way of Lancaster County officials, the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty ... all have said it repeatedly. And still, we’re doing an abysmal job of providing high-quality pre-K to the children in Lancaster County who need it the most.

Bethlehem charter school to get 5 more years with enrollment cap
For By Sara K. Satullo, Updated on October 11, 2017 at 4:03 PM Posted on October 11, 2017 at 3:45 PM
The Bethlehem Area School District plans to give Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School a five-year extension after the charter agreed to cap its enrollment of district students. Monday evening the school board reviewed the K-8 charter school's academics, financials and operations during a curriculum committee meeting. School Principal Lisa Pluchinsky answered board questions on behalf of the charter school. Pluchinsky could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon. The administration is recommending the school's charter be extended for another five years, Superintendent Joseph Roy said Wednesday morning. The school is located at 675 E. Broad St. in space formerly occupied by Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. The charter was not looking to expand beyond its existing overall 450-student enrollment cap. At Bethlehem's request, the charter agreed to limit its enrollment of Bethlehem Area students to the current 187 students enrolled, Roy said. This helps the district limit its financial contributions to the charter school.

Thackston preparing to make its case against charter revocation
York Dispatch by David Weissman, 505-5431/@DispatchDavid  3:31 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2017
Helen Thackston Charter School has made numerous changes this school year in an effort to avoid closure, but a handful of unaddressed issues could loom large in its battle with York City School District. The first of eight scheduled revocation hearings is set to begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the district administration building, 31 N. Pershing Ave. The York City School Board outlined its issues with Thackston in February and voted to move toward revoking the school's charter in a June resolution, which detailed more than 20 alleged violations. The alleged violations included declining student performance, inadequate staffing certification and failure to acquire child-abuse background checks from all employees. Since the issues were first brought up, Thackston officials have been working to address the grievances ahead of the revocation hearings. CEO Carlos Lopez, a former York City superintendent who was hired by Thackston in late February, said the biggest change has been in leadership, which is focused on improving the educational and operational stability of the school.

Wolf stumps in Erie for ‘common-sense’ Marcellus Shale tax
Governor also says $14 million for Erie School District remains in state budget for 2017-18.
GoErie By Ed Palattella Posted at 12:01 AM Updated at 6:11 AM
Gov. Tom Wolf visited Erie on Wednesday to push for a quick end to the state budget deadlock that has dragged on for more than three months. One way to help resolve the stalemate, Wolf said, is for the General Assembly to pass “a reasonable shale tax.” The measure, which Wolf said could raise as much as $120 million this fiscal year, is “a common-sense tax” that will help balance the budget, he said to a crowd of about 80 supporters. “We have missed out on literally billions of dollars,” Wolf said of the General Assembly’s rejection of the Marcellus Shale tax for years. “I’m not sure what it is that people don’t like about this tax.” Wolf also said he continues to support the Erie School District financial recovery, one of the most critical local issues involved in the state budget talks. He said an additional $14 million in funding for the Erie School District for this fiscal year remains in the spending package of the budget that was passed June 30. But he said that, without a complete state budget, he must work on a way to release that money to the district. “I will figure out how I can free up the money to pay for that in a responsible way,” Wolf said in comments after his address in City Council chambers.

Editorial: For Delco GOP state House delegation, life is a gas
Delco Times Editorial POSTED: 10/11/17, 8:29 PM EDT | UPDATED: 6 HRS AGO
There are a lot of fingers being pointed these days in Harrisburg.
That’s what happens when you approve a $32 billion spending plan and then spend the next three months trying to figure out how to fund it. You read that right. Our esteemed Legislature barely beat the deadline at the end of June by passing a new fiscal plan. Since then we’ve been treated to dysfunction – which is another way of saying business as usual in Harrisburg – as legislators have tied themselves in knots trying to figure out how to pay for it. Keep in mind that, as with everything that happens in the state capital, this exercise is drenched in politics. Every state representative as well as the governor will be up for re-election in 2018. First up in the batter’s box was the state Senate. These folks do not have to run for re-election every two years. So maybe they were a little more amenable to considering some menial tax increases to fund the budget. Their plan raised a few taxes on utilities and phone bills. More importantly, it did something many in Harrisburg, including Gov. Tom Wolf, have been clamoring for now for years. They put their weight behind the state’s first severance tax on the natural gas industry. Wolf said he would support the Senate plan. Then they waited for the House to take action. And they waited. And they waited. We’re still waiting.

How gambling in bars is holding up a budget deal for Pa. | Editorial
by The Inquirer Editorial Board Updated: OCTOBER 11, 2017 — 3:01 AM EDT
The budget stalemate in Pennsylvania isn’t about taxing gas extraction. That’s not going to happen this year. It isn’t about getting the state out of the liquor business. The State Stores workers’ union is too strong. Nor is it about weakening Gov. Wolf heading into next year’s election. That mission has been accomplished. It’s about expanding legalized gambling to include video machines at social clubs and bars. And the state’s top institutions of higher learning have become part of the table stakes in the game. That became clear when the legislature took its week-long Columbus Day recess without funding the four state-supported institutions of higher learning: Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln. Without that cash, the schools may raise tuition. Questioned about that possibility, key legislators all began singing the same song, saying that if only a gambling expansion bill were passed, the universities would have nothing to worry about.

Current Issues Facing Career and Technical Education
PA Senate Education Committee Hearing Posted on Oct 10, 2017 Video Runtime 1:43
Senate Education Subcommittee on Career & Technical Education
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM Lancaster County Career & Technology Center

Leechburg Area residents want a school merger, not school renovations
Trib Live by GEORGE GUIDO | Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, 12:11 a.m.
More than 50 years ago, the Leechburg Area School District was supposed to be part of a five-school district consolidation plan that failed. Now, a number of angry Leechburg Area residents want the issue revisited. About 20 residents attended Wednesday's school board meeting, many to voice their opposition to a $7.7 million bond issue that the board approved last month. District officials plan to use the money to fix the school roofs and curbs, and update shop equipment, the technology classrooms and athletic facilities, among other items. When the public comment session of the meeting began, Solicitor Trish Andrews said that speakers normally get 15 minutes, but since the speakers who signed up for Wednesday's session would all deal with the same topic, speakers were limited to four minutes each. Janine Remaley of Gilpin said she was going to go over the four-minute allotment. When she did, the school board called a recess and most left the meeting room at the Parker Baker Building amid shouting and catcalls after another scheduled speaker said she would allot some of her time to Remaley. The others who spoke after the majority of the school board left also voiced a desire to dissolve or merge the school district, which currently serves 749 students in grades K-12. None mentioned a neighboring school system that Leechburg Area should join.

Baldwin-Whitehall district joins League of Innovative Schools
Trib Live by SUZANNE ELLIOTT | Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, 2:33 p.m.
Baldwin-Whitehall has joined a handful of area school districts as a member of the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition of school districts organized by Digital Promise, a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate learning and innovation through research and technology. “This opportunity will allow us to work collaboratively with other forward-thinking school districts across the country, while strengthening our partnerships with several local school districts, all in an effort to provide our students with the best opportunities so that they can make a positive impact on our global society,” Baldwin-Whitehall Superintendent Randal Lutz. Digital Promise, with offices in Washington, D.C., and Redwood City, Calif., is a nonprofit organized by Congress to assist the learning process for all Americans. Other area school districts who are members of the League of Innovative Schools include South Fayette Township, Elizabeth-Forward, Fox Chapel Area, Montour and Avonworth.

DeVos Wants to Steer Grant Money to School Choice, STEM, and More
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on October 11, 2017 12:05 PM
UPDATED - Want a better shot of getting federal grant money out of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' department? You may want to consider pitching a project with a STEM, workforce development, competency-based education, or literacy focus—or one that embraces school choice, including for disadvantaged groups of students. And you should find a way to show how you are giving taxpayers good bang for their buck. Here's why: The department gives away at least $700 million in competitive-grant money every year. Every administration sets "priorities" for that funding. The Trump administration published its draft list in the Federal Register Wednesday. These matter because applicants that include one—or more—of those priorities in a grant proposal are more likely to get money. So what priorities are the Trump Education Team proposing? There are 11. Some are clearly long-standing GOP priorities, like school choice. But others, like improving economic opportunity through things like early-childhood education and creating a positive school climate, aren't so different from what the Obama administration championed. (DeVos and company put on their twist on these things, however.) 

Panel: Education Policy in the 113th PA Legislature at PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Thursday, Oct. 19  2-3:30 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will moderate a panel discussion with the four chairs of the House and Senate Education committees as they share their views about the education agenda for the future of Pennsylvania’s public schools. Attendees will learn about pending legislation and policy changes and the impact on their school districts. Presenters:
·         John Callahan, assistant executive director, PSBA
·         The Honorable John Eichelberger, Senate Education Majority Chairman
·         The Honorable Andrew Dinniman, Senate Education Minority Chairman
·         The Honorable James Roebuck, House Education Minority Chairman

Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity Saturday, October 21
Hosted by Take Action Give 5 and POWER Saturday, October 21 at 1 PM - 4 PM
Penn Wood Senior High School 100 Green Ave, Lansdowne, Pennsylvania 19050
Help Make Education in Delco More Fair! Pennsylvania has the most unfair education funding in the US. This affects every one of us. Join us October 21 to learn how you can make a difference!
POWER Interfaith and Take Action Give 5 are pleased to invite you to a free event designed to educate and activate Delaware County citizens on issues related to education equity in our schools, county, and state. The Take Action Community Forum on Education Equity will be held Saturday, October 21st from 1-4 pm at Penn Wood High School, 100 Green Avenue, Lansdowne.  We will host a panel of dynamic and illustrious speakers to explain why such education inequity exists in PA, offer ways to get involved, and answer audience questions. After the panel, our engaged and motivated audience will learn how to get involved with organizations working for education equity Delco. We aim to connect local activists - those new to the game and those with a lifetime of experience - with education equity advocacy and direct service organizations in Delco. Click here for list of panelists.

Reclaiming Our Democracy: The Pennsylvania Conference to End
Saturday, October 14th, 2017 | 9:00am-5:00pm Crowne Plaza Harrisburg, PA
Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey 23 S 2nd St.  Harrisburg, PA
Join us for a one-day redistricting conference in Harrisburg for volunteers, supporters, academics, press and legislators. Gubernatorial candidates, legislative leaders and national redistricting experts have been invited to speak about gerrymandering and the potential for reform.  In the afternoon there will be breakout sessions on redistricting issues of interest, including new gerrymandering standards and details on litigation in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and other states.

Seventh Annual Pennsylvania Arts and Education Symposium, November 2, 2017 Camp Hill
The 2017 Pennsylvania Arts and Education will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center in Camp Hill.  See the agenda here.
Early Bird Registration ends September 30.

The Road to College Success for Students from Underserved Communities
Philadelphia School Partnership Posted on October 2, 2017
Wednesday, October 18th 6:30-8pm National Constitution Center Kirby Theater
525 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
How do we prepare students for what comes after their college acceptance? How do we equip them with the skills they need to graduate and continue into the workforce? For years, author Richard Whitmire has crossed the country, analyzing how a variety of schools address this question. Join us as we sit down with him and Drexel Professor Paul Harrington to discuss how leading urban high schools are helping first-generation college goers beat the odds and achieve college success. Please join us! RSVP to

Support the Notebook and see Springsteen on Broadway
The notebook October 2, 2017 — 10:57am
Donate $50 or more until Nov. 10, enter to win – and have your donation doubled!
"This music is forever for me. It's the stage thing, that rush moment that you live for. It never lasts, but that's what you live for." – Bruce Springsteen
You can be a part of a unique Bruce Springsteen show in his career – and support local, nonprofit education journalism!  Donate $50 or more to the Notebook through Nov. 10, and your donation will be doubled, up to $1,000, through the Knight News Match. Plus, you will be automatically entered to win a pair of prime tickets to see Springsteen on Broadway!  One winner will receive two tickets to the 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, show at the Walter Kerr Theatre. These are amazing orchestra section seats to this incredible sold-out solo performance. Don't miss out on your chance to see the Boss in his Broadway debut. Donate to the Notebook today online or by mail at 699 Ranstead St., 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

STAY WOKE: THE INAUGURAL NATIONAL BLACK MALE EDUCATORS CONVENING; Philadelphia Fri, Oct 13, 2017 4:00 pm Sun, Oct 15, 2017 7:00pm
TEACHER DIVERSITY WORKS. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.  Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response.  Come participate in the inaugural National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome.

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

Save the Date: PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference October 18-20, Hershey PA

Registration Is Open for the 2017 Arts and Education Symposium
Thursday, November 2, 2017 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
 Radisson Hotel Harrisburg Convention Center
Registration October 1 to November 1 - $60; Registration at the Symposium - $70
Full-Time Student Registration (Student ID Required at Symposium Check-In) - $30
Act 48 Credit Available

Registration now open for the 67th Annual PASCD Conference  Nov. 12-13 Harrisburg: Sparking Innovation: Personalized Learning, STEM, 4C's
This year's conference will begin on Sunday, November 12th and end on Monday, November 13th. There will also be a free pre-conference on Saturday, November 11th.  You can register for this year's conference online with a credit card payment or have an invoice sent to you.  Click here to register for the conference.

Save the Date! NSBA 2018 Advocacy Institute February 4-6, 2018 Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.
Registration Opens Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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