School funding formulas questioned in study
Trib Live by DEBRA ERDLEY | Monday, March 5, 2018, 9:45 a.m.
It's budget time in Pennsylvania and that typically means we're in for more than a few arguments about education funding. Those complaining that public education is getting short shrift in the Keystone State need look no further than NPR's Morning Education to find support for their position. A study by the Education Trust that analyzed state and local support for the poorest and wealthiest schools districts in every state found Pennsylvania ranked next to Mississippi in terms of how far support the poorest districts ranked below that for the wealthiest schools. The difference: the poorest schools received about 11 percent less per student than the wealthiest schools. That puts Pennsylvania well behind places like Utah, where the poorest schools get about 15 percent more than the wealthiest, and Minnesota, where poor schools received about 11 percent more in state and local support than wealthy districts. Of course, we're no where near as bad as Illinois, which shorts its poorest districts nearly 30 percent more than their wealthiest counterparts. The state's perennial debate over education funding could get interesting this year.
The Education Trust study comes as the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools and several other groups prepare to argue their case for a more equitable funding formula before the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
The State of Funding Equity in Pennsylvania
Education Trust February 2018
Use this tool to find detailed information on the funding patterns in each state and how they compare with those in other states. For an overview of national findings, please see the Funding Gaps 2018 brief. How Do the Revenues of the Highest and Lowest Poverty Districts Compare? To measure disparities in state and local revenues based on the level of district poverty, we first sorted all of the districts in the state by the percentage of students who live below the poverty line. We then sorted districts into four groups (quartiles), so that each group had approximately the same number of students, and calculated the average state and local revenue per student across all the districts in each quartile. In the findings below, we look at the differences in state and local revenues per student between the highest and lowest poverty quartiles.
Hearing looms on Pennsylvania congressional redistricting issue
Trib Live by BRIAN BOWLING | Monday, March 5, 2018, 4:48 p.m.
The only certainty in the congressional redistricting case is that Republicans lose if they can't persuade a three-judge panel to grant a preliminary injunction, said Bruce Ledewitz, a Duquesne University law professor. The federal judges are scheduled to hear arguments Friday in Harrisburg. A preliminary injunction stops one side from taking an action while the other pursues its legal challenge. In this case, Republicans want to bar the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf from implementing a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 2011 congressional map for Pennsylvania drawn by GOP lawmakers. Since there's little debate that map — considered one of the country's most gerrymandered — is unconstitutional, the only question seems to be whether it will be used one last time for the 2018 elections, Ledewitz said. The filing period already has started for the May 15 primary election, so only a quick resolution will help Republicans, he said. “A delay in this case decides it, as a practical matter …,” he said. “If they don't get the injunction, they lose.”
Poll shows Lamb holds slight lead over Saccone a week before special election
Trib Live by WES VENTEICHER | Monday, March 5, 2018, 12:24 p.m.
Momentum appears to have shifted in favor of Democrat Conor Lamb in a special election race to represent a Western Pennsylvania congressional district that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump and elected former GOP Congressman Tim Murphy in the past eight elections, according to recent polling. A poll released Monday by Boston's Emerson College shows Lamb, 33, of Mt. Lebanon, with a 3 percentage-point lead over Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone, 60, of Elizabeth Township, in the March 13 special election race to replace Murphy, who resigned in October amid an extramarital scandal. The lead is within the poll's 4.8 percentage-point confidence interval, which is similar to a margin of error, and 7 percent of voters remain undecided. But it's the first poll to put Lamb ahead in a district Trump won by 19 percentage points in 2016 and where Saccone was up two months ago by 12 percentage points.
PA Senate Education Committee tackles school safety
Daily Local By Staff Report POSTED: 03/05/18, 12:58 PM EST | UPDATED: 13 HRS AGO
Harrisburg >> State Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19, and members of the Senate Education Committee held a public hearing on school and student safety Friday. “While we may focus in on the issue of gun control or mental health, we must understand that there is a larger, societal issue. For too long, we’ve discussed it in silos and sniped at each other from across political lines. But the real answer will be multifaceted and will include a combination of solutions,” said Dinniman, who serves as the committee’s minority chairman. State Sen. Mike Regan, R-31, a former U.S. Marshal and Deputy Inspector General, presented detailed testimony calling for a Comprehensive School Safety Plan that includes thorough assessment, customized planning, and professional training. “It is my strongly held conviction that finite school safety resources should not be allocated without a professionally-conducted preliminary needs assessment. Without an objective evaluation of a school’s assets and unique needs, the potential exists for taxpayer dollars to be mismanaged,” he said. Regan also pointed out that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the 2017-18 education budget was dedicated to the Safe School Initiative line item.
Senators want alerts when gun buyers fail background checks
Inquirer by AP Updated: MARCH 5, 2018 — 2:31 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A bipartisan group of U.S. senators want state law enforcement to be alerted when someone who isn't allowed to buy a gun tries to purchase one. U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Chris Coons on Monday said they will introduce a bill that requires federal authorities to notify states when a felon or a fugitive attempts to buy a firearm but fails the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said the legislation is a commonsense way to keep people trying to illegally buy guns on the radar of state law enforcement while ensuring Second Amendment rights. "That's the focus: Common ground, respecting the Second Amendment but making it more difficult for people who shouldn't have firearms to obtain them," Toomey said at a press conference in Philadelphia.
“The bill now goes to the House, which has a similar bill still waiting for consideration by the full chamber. The annual 60-day session is scheduled to end Friday.”
The Florida Senate passes a bill to put restrictions on gun sales and allow some teachers to be armed in schools
Post-Gazette by BRENDAN FARRINGTON, TERRY SPENCER AND GARY FINEOUT Associated Press MAR 5, 2018 10:22 PM
In response to a deadly Florida school shooting last month, the state’s Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday that would create new restrictions on rifle sales and allow some teachers — classroom teachers are excluded — to carry guns in schools. The 20-18 vote came after three hours of often emotional debate. Support and opposition crossed party lines, and it was clear many of those who voted for the bill weren’t entirely happy with it. “Do I think this bill goes far enough? No! No, I don’t!” said Democratic Sen. Lauren Book, who tearfully described visiting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after 17 people were fatally shot on Valentine’s Day. She also would have liked a ban on assault-style rifles, like many of the students who traveled to the state Capitol in Tallahassee to ask lawmakers to go even further to stop future mass shootings. But Book said she couldn’t let the legislative session end Friday without doing something.
APPS News: March 2018
Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools by Karel Kilimnik March 5, 2018
Nominating Panel Meets Behind Closed Doors
This hectic season continues as APPS fights against ever more threats to public education. We challenged Mayor Kenney’s unexpected decision to shut the public out of almost all meetings of the Nominating Panel, whose members he selected last month. We did not anticipate this mayor placing the community on the sidelines, being given no voice in who will control a $3 billion budget and the future of education in the city. As a result of the steady organizing and political lobbying of the Our City, Our Schools coalition, Philadelphians won a huge victory in November when the SRC voted to dissolve, effective July 2018. Without APPS’ continual coverage of the questionable contracts and decisions in our Eyes and Ears on the SRC, the journey back from state to local control would have been a harder mountain to climb.
Governor’s proposed budget would help Mahanoy Area
Republican Herald BY JOHN USALIS / PUBLISHED: MARCH 6, 2018
MAHANOY CITY—The Mahanoy Area School District business administrator briefed the school board Feb. 27 about the proposed state budget. John J. Hurst said that Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget provides additional funds to the school district: “For the basic education subsidy, he (Gov. Wolf) proposed a $100 million increase. That would translate into $188,000, or 2.4 percent, more than I anticipated. ” Hurst said that how the district has been evaluated with regard to the poverty level has changed: “There are certain factors that get put into play every year that say how much money you get. One of those is poverty level. This year, we’ve moved into a concentrated poverty level, which means that over 30 percent of our students are living in acute poverty, which is below the federal poverty level. Right now, greater than 30 percent of our students are there. So that kicked in a larger weighted factor to give us a little more money.”
SCHOOL FUNDING LAWSUIT ORAL ARGUMENT WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2018, 9:30AM, PHILLY
Join us on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 for oral argument on remaining preliminary objections and a motion to dismiss for mootness in our School Funding Lawsuit. This case was filed on behalf of six school districts, seven parents, the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools (PARSS) and the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference against legislative leaders, state education officials, and the Governor. We are asking for a court order that will force the legislature to comply with the state constitution and ensure all students receive access to a high-quality public education. RSVP BY MARCH 5
Commonwealth Court Ninth Floor, Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street One South Penn Square, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Courtroom opens at 8:30 a.m.
Our argument is slated to be presented last on the list for the day. Estimated start time for our argument is 10:30 a.m., but it could be earlier or later. We will hold a press conference immediately after oral argument by the Octavius Catto statue on the south side of City Hall. Estimated start time between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
RSVP here or contact Tomea Sippio-Smith, Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), 215-563-5848, ext. 36 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RSVPing does not guarantee you a seat in the courtroom.
NPE: Join us in a Day of Action April 20th to Stop Gun Violence in our Schools
Network for Public Education February 16, 2018 by Darcie Cimarusti
After the slaughter of students and staff in Parkland, Florida, the time for action has never been more urgent. The politicians sit on their hands as our children and their teachers are murdered in their schools. We will be silent no more! The failure to enact rational laws that bar access to guns designed for mass shootings is inexcusable. It is past time to speak out and act. Pledge your support to stop gun violence here. We call for mass action on April 20, the anniversary of the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. We urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of protest in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your community. Organize sit-ins, teach-ins, walkouts, marches–whatever you decide will show your school and community’s determination to keep our students safe. One elementary teacher suggested that teachers and parents link arms around the school to show their determination to protect children.
Learn the latest news, initiatives and upcoming events from your association.
Bring knowledge back to your district of how the commonwealth budget will fiscally impact it. Discuss the top legislative issues affecting public education. Learn how you can advocate for your school district taxpayers, students and public education success.
Enjoy productive conversation with your school leader colleagues. Boost your network, share your experiences and build a stronger voice for public education.
This focus group is your opportunity to share your input in drafting a blueprint for the future of public education. The Commonwealth Education Blueprint is a multiyear effort founded and managed by PSBA to develop and implement a statewide vision for the future of public education. Through this comprehensive project, education stakeholders from across the state and from many areas of expertise are coming together to proactively determine what education should look like in years to come. Having a clear and comprehensive statewide vision will ensure that we provide an increasingly excellent public education experience for children. This is your opportunity to get involved, share your feedback, and help draft the plan for the future of education!
Registration is now open for the 2018 PASA Education Congress! State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018
Don't miss this marquee event for Pennsylvania school leaders at the Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA, March 19-20, 2018.
Learn more by visiting http://www.pasa-net.org/2018edcongress
Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.