2018 PSBA Advocacy Day April 16, 2018 Harrisburg
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the annual Advocacy Day on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. PSBA is partnering with Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units to have a stronger voice for public education. Hear how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. Government Affairs will take a deeper dive into the legislative priorities and will provide tips on how to be an effective public education advocate. There will be dedicated time for you and your fellow advocates to hit the halls to meet with your legislators on public education. This is your chance to share the importance of policy supporting public education and make your voice heard on the Hill. This event is free for members; registration is required.
Register online here: http://www.mypls.com/Default.aspx?tabid=3753
Uncharted Territory in Delaware County – Panel Discussion on Implications of Rising Charter Enrollment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Suburbs – Thursday, March 15, 2018; 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Penn Wood HS
Over 15,000 SEPA children attend charter schools ever year and the numbers are growing. On Thursday, March 15, 2018 from 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. @ Penn Wood High School, PCCY will host a panel featuring a Penn Wood student leader, Rep. James R. Santora, Sen. Anthony Williams, local school leadership, and experts from PCCY for a frank discussion on the rising impact of charter schools in Delaware County. The event will coincide with the release of PCCY’s new report on suburban charter schools in Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester counties, “Uncharted Territory: The Implication of Rising Charter Enrollment in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Suburbs.” Come out and lend your voice to the discussion!
School District of Philadelphia Annual Charter Evaluations
Annual Charter Evaluations (ACE) were developed in 2016 to provide interim school evaluations for years between initial charter approval and first charter renewal as well as between charter renewals thereafter. These reports are produced annually by the CSO for all charter schools (except those up for renewal that receive a Renewal Recommendation Report) and provide information on the three main areas of the Charter School Performance Framework: academic success, organizational compliance and viability, and financial health and sustainability. The ACE also provides student-subgroup information to assess a charter school’s academic performance by grade level, gender, race/ethnicity, and historically underserved categories.
GOP to make another go in court today at stopping Pennsylvania's new congressional map
Morning Call by Steve Esack Contact Reporter Call Harrisburg Bureau March 9, 2018
Pennsylvania's gerrymandering legal fight will be back in court today.
A group of Republicans will try to persuade a federal court panel to postpone a state Supreme Court ruling that created new congressional districts. The lawsuit was filed by eight GOP congressmen and two GOP state senators. It claims a Democratic majority of the state’s highest court had no legal authority under the U.S. Constitution to draw its own election map after declaring a 2011 map was unconstitutional. Oral arguments in the lawsuit are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg. The lawsuit is one of two appeals filed in federal court. The second one is before the U.S. Supreme Court but Justice Samuel Alito has not decided whether the appeal should be heard by the full court. While the legal matters are pending, candidates are circulating nominating petitions to get on the ballot for the May 15 primary. But what those ballots will look like is anyone’s guess at this point.
PENNSYLVANIA REDISTRICTING LAWSUIT UPDATE
PENNSYLVANIA VOTERS HEAD TO FEDERAL COURT TO DEFEND THE 2018 MAP
Public Interest Law Center Website March 8, 2018
Tomorrow, March 9, 2018, the 18 voters who successfully challenged Pennsylvania’s 2011 congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander will head to federal court to protect Pennsylvania’s new, non-partisan congressional map put in place by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. They are represented by the Public Interest Law Center and Arnold & Porter. On Friday, a three-judge federal district court panel will hear oral argument in a new, federal lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania Senators Corman and Folmer and eight congressional representatives. The legislators claim that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated the federal Elections Clause when it found the 2011 congressional map unconstitutional and adopted a new map. The Court will hear argument on the voters’ and state election officials’ motions to dismiss the new lawsuit, as well as the legislators’ motion for a preliminary injunction, which seeks to stop implementation of the new map and put the old map back in place for 2018. “Every single argument in this new federal lawsuit was raised and rejected in our state court challenge to the 2011 map,” said Elisabeth Theodore of Arnold & Porter. “These new plaintiffs don’t get another bite at the apple in federal court.”
York County school administrators testify in favor of more education funding
York Dispatch by Junior Gonzalez, 717-505-5439/@EducationYD Published 12:27 p.m. ET March 8, 2018 | Updated 3:52 p.m. ET March 8, 2018
Two York County school district administrators told members of the House Democratic Policy Committee that while state education funding is headed in the right direction, more help is needed to achieve long-term goals. York City School District Superintendent Eric Holmes and York Suburban acting Superintendent Larry Redding testified before policy committee Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, Rep. Carol Hill-Evans and others at the York City School District administration building Wednesday, March 7. In his testimony, Holmes pointed out strides made by the district with increases in the state basic education subsidy over the past three years, including the district's academic growth in English language arts and math in grades 4 through 8 and in grade 11. The achievements, he said, have been made despite a challenging environment for students, including the district's 55 percent acute poverty rate — the highest of any district in the commonwealth.
Financing Education in the Commonwealth: Revenue and Expenditures in PA Counties, FY 2015-2016
Penn State Data Center Research Brief February 2018
HARRISBURG – Tax season is here. One of the benefits from these tax dollars is public education. This brief uses membership, funding, and expense data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and attainment, earnings, and unemployment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey to analyze trends in school financing. During the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year, there were approximately 1.7 million students attending public schools across Pennsylvania and counties spent upwards of $30.6 billion to run these public schools. Other key findings include: • Pennsylvania provided around $3,900 of state funding per student • The average school in Pennsylvania spent $16,400 per student • Three-quarters of school spending was for employee salaries, benefits, and retirement
School walkouts: Central Pa. struggles with free speech vs. chaotic protest
WITF Written by Gordon Rago/The York Daily Record | Mar 8, 2018 6:01 PM
(Undated) -- School districts across central Pennsylvania are grappling with next week's national student walkout -- should they let students leave class for an event that calls for measures to reduce school shootings, or should they insist that students stay in class? The walkout will mark the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre. The shooting at the Parkland, Fla., high school sparked widespread debate about tighter gun laws, and students have been among the loudest of those speaking up. The Valentine's Day shooting also resulted in the 17-minute walkout -- one minute for each person killed -- planned for 10 a.m. on March 14. The event is meant to "protest Congress' inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods," according to the event's website. In a recent op-ed in LancasterOnline, one local Congressman said that common sense, not hyperbole, needs to guide gun debate. One of the measures U.S Rep. Lloyd Smucker said he supports was re-evaluating bump stocks to determine if they violate existing law banning fully automatic weapons. "If a device makes a semi-automatic operate like a fully automatic weapon, it should be illegal," Smucker wrote. "I'm glad President Donald Trump is taking action to get rid of bump stocks." In some schools around central Pennsylvania, school administrators have been meeting to discuss how best to handle the potential of having hundreds of kids leaving class and going outside.
Auditor General DePasquale says school safety will be part of audits
Beaver County Times By J.D. Prose Posted Mar 8, 2018 5:30 PM Updated Mar 8, 2018 9:41 PM
Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said Thursday that he is immediately adding school safety objectives to all school audits and expanding the list of those privy to those findings to include state and local police and the state attorney general’s office. “It is critical that students feel safe when they are in school,” DePasquale said at a press conference in Harrisburg announcing the changes. “They should not be worried about their personal safety, but we can understand, today in Pennsylvania and across the country, why they would feel that way.” DePasquale also pledged to personally visit schools to meet with students, teachers, parents, administrators and police to glean their thoughts on how to improve school safety. “The most students should have to worry about is a pop quiz in algebra class,” he said. “Students should never have to worry about whether they’ll be able to survive the school day unharmed.” Most of all, DePasquale said he is looking forward to hearing from students, especially in light of the actions launched by Parkland, Fla., high school students after the mass shooting there on Feb. 14 that claimed 17 lives. “Some of the most insightful points we’ve received are from those articulate students,” he said.
Upper Darby School Board says no to arming staff
Delco Times By Kevin Tustin, firstname.lastname@example.org, @KevinTustin on Twitter
POSTED: 03/08/18, 7:13 PM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
UPPER DARBY >> The Upper Darby School Board has shot down any prospect of arming school personnel in the wake of the latest school mass shooting. There was unanimous approval for a resolution against arming educators adopted at the board’s March 6 meeting, pushing the board to seek other means by which to keep its 12,000-plus students safe. “The Upper Darby School Board does not support any proposals to arm educators, and instead will focus on safety and security improvements as well as asking legislators for more support for our efforts in this regard, including support to help us address the mental health needs of our young people,” read a portion of the resolution. The resolution also notes that teachers are not trained law enforcement officers and that arming them could create a bigger safety issue. “This could also create an issue for first responders who might have a difficult time distinguishing a perpetrator from a school employee,” read the resolution. A bill passed in the state Senate last year, SB 383, would allow school districts to create a policy to arm teachers, but it has stalled in the House Education Committee.
Instead of arming personnel, more resources for social emotional skills and mental health issues were asked for in Upper Darby’s resolution, as was more funding for security improvements.
After its passage the resolution received applause by members of the public.
Mayor Kenney says he needs more candidates for possible school board seats
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer @newskag | email@example.com Updated: MARCH 8, 2018 — 6:40 PM EST
Mayor Kenney has asked the nominating panel that last week presented him with 27 candidates for seats on the new school board to send him additional names, saying he needs a wider pool from which to choose the Philadelphia School District’s governing body. Kenney, in a letter to the 13-member panel Thursday, said he wants to consider a more diverse group of candidates, with more parents and educators among them. “I may appoint all nine board members from the panel’s initial list of 27,” Kenney wrote. “However, given the importance of these appointments, I would welcome further recommendations from the panel in order to allow me to appoint the strongest board possible.” Kenney said he wants at least 18 new candidates and not more than 27. He said he felt those with “professional and governmental experience” were well represented, but asked for a more “diverse pool that more strongly represents parents and current or former primary- or secondary-level educators. As we review the overall makeup of the appointments, it is important that the members represent all Philadelphians.” The nominating panel, chaired by Wendell Pritchett, the University of Pennsylvania provost and former School Reform Commission member, has until March 18 to come up with the new recommendations.
Mayor requests more candidates for school board
Kenney told the nominating panel that he wants more diversity on the new list of at least 18 people. He's not ruling out making his choices from the first group of 27 names, however.
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa March 8, 2018 — 2:12pm
Note: This story has been updated.
Seeking more parents, educators, and overall diversity, Mayor Kenney is asking the Education Nominating Panel for at least 18 more names to consider when he appoints the new Board of Education. In a letter to the panel, Kenney said that he was "impressed" with the 27 names that the panel had submitted to him last month and that he may yet choose the nine-member board from that list. "In appointing Board of Education members, I must consider the candidates as individuals as well as how they would fit into the overall makeup of the Board," Kenney wrote. The first list "includes a sufficient group of individuals with professional and governmental experience. For the second list, I request that the Panel submit a diverse pool that more strongly represents parents and current or former primary- or secondary-level educators. As we review the overall makeup of the appointments, it is important that the members represent all Philadelphians." For instance, the first list of 27 included only two black males, something that raised concern among key city constituencies, according to an article in the Philadelphia Tribune. Bilal Qayyum, a longtime city activist who promotes fatherhood among black and Latino men, told the Tribune that the panel was sending a "negative message" with its list of choices.
"Black males have always been, and still are, in the city of Philadelphia and across the country — we’re always second and third," Qayyum told the Tribune.
School threats in Philly region on the rise since Florida massacre
Inquirer by Barbara Boyer, Staff Writer @bbboyer | firstname.lastname@example.org Updated: MARCH 8, 2018 — 10:56 PM EST
Threats made to school districts throughout the region are increasing at an alarming pace — a disturbing trend with a complex foundation that includes copycat crimes, more reporting, and the delicate task of dealing with immature students who simply make bad decisions. It’s not just happening here. Across the nation, school districts and law enforcement officials are responding to more threats that have teachers, students, and parents on edge. Just days ago, police in Stafford, Ocean County, announced the arrests of nine intermediate school students who they said talked of “becoming active shooters.” Taken into custody were 11- and 12-year-old boys. In a Facebook post, Stafford Police Chief Thomas Dellane and School Superintendent George Chidiac said there would be “zero tolerance” for threats of violence in the schools and announced: “All reports will be fully investigated, and all threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent.” In York County, a 13-year-old girl was charged last month with making terroristic threats after police said she was overheard saying, “Don’t come to school tomorrow,” and that “the person” would be there all week. The remarks were taken so seriously that the school closed for three days. Police said the girl showed investigators how she made threats using social media. The rise in reported threats has roiled school officials across the region.
Why are so many state lawmakers calling it quits this year?
Penn Live By Jan Murphy email@example.com Updated 6:20 AM; Posted 5:55 AM
While it's not exactly a stampede of state lawmakers heading for the exit, 30 members of Pennsylvania's General Assembly have decided not to stand for re-election this year.
That's more than at any time since 2006, when the same number of lawmakers opted not to seek reelection in the year after they voted themselves a double digit pay raise. The backlash to that controversial pay raise vote was so strong it caused lawmakers to repeal their raise four months later and led to more than 20 additional incumbents losing their seats in that year's election. But this year is different. There was no controversial vote that so enraged the public they stormed the Capitol. So why are so many leaving? The reasons seem varied. Some are seeking a higher office so they are not seeking re-election to their current position. Running for both could be seen as not being fully committed to either office.
Who are Rick Saccone and Conor Lamb? Here's what you need to know about the special election in PA-18
Penn Live By John L. Micek | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted March 08, 2018 at 12:21 PM | Updated March 08, 2018 at 02:02 PM
So you may have heard by now that voters in southwestern Pennsylvania will head to the polls Tuesday to pick candidates in a special election for the 18th Congressional District,which includes a big chunk of the Pittsburgh suburbs. Because you can't tell the players and the issues without a scorecard, here's everything you need to know about a race that could set the tone for the 2018 mid-term elections.
So why are we having this special election again?
To borrow from David Byrne, "You may ask yourself, how did we get here?"
“Simply put, the fuss is that both Republicans and Democrats see this race as a referendum on President Trump and his policies — a referendum in a district Trump won by 20 points in 2016 while the last GOP incumbent was winning without an opponent. What's at stake is not whether Democrats win control of the House, but whether this race presages a giant Democratic electoral wave that will sweep Republicans from power in November's midterms.”
G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young: Nation watching what happens in Pa.'s 18th District special election
Morning Call Opinion March 8, 2018
G. Terry Madonna is professor of public affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, and Michael Young is a speaker, pollster, author and was professor of politics and public affairs at Penn State University.
A congressional district that no longer exists. Two opponents who will never face each other again. A race that will have itself little or no direct influence on the balance of power in Congress. And yet much of the nation's political establishment is watching it as if it were a presidential race. Maybe it is! We are talking, of course, about the unexpectedly close, high-stakes special election Tuesday in the (old) Pennsylvania 18th between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb. It's game on in the 18th — as this first congressional race in the 2018 midterm has drawn enormous attention, receiving more national coverage than any congressional election in modern Pennsylvania history. So what's the fuss about a district, once represented by both John Heinz and Rick Santorum , one that is scheduled to disappear this year under a new congressional map, one that has 70,000 more Democrats than Republicans , and one that has habitually voted Republican in recent years?
PA18: In western Pa. special election, Dem Conor Lamb aims to shock Trump country
Inquirer by Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau @JonathanTamari | email@example.com Updated: MARCH 9, 2018 — 5:51 AM EST
MOON, Pa. — In recent years, Democrats in this southwestern corner of Pennsylvania have been so beaten down that Alexandra Rizzo has had to write in her own name for Congress. Her party didn’t even field a candidate in 2014 or 2016. “I got at least three votes in every election,” she said — from family. Yet Rizzo, 29, was among hundreds of optimistic Democrats waiting this week under overcast skies to see former Vice President Joe Biden campaign with Conor Lamb, a telegenic 33-year-old Marine and ex-federal prosecutor who has given the party hope of scoring an astounding upset in a special election Tuesday that would reverberate through Pennsylvania and the country. The race for the open 18th District seat south of Pittsburgh has become the latest test of Democratic energy and backlash against President Trump, drawing a wave of national media attention and a deluge of Washington spending. The political stakes are so high that the race reportedly played into President Trump’s decision to announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, in hopes of stirring enthusiasm among the voters who strongly backed him in 2016, in a region long associated with coal and steel. Trump and Vice President Pence have each visited to support the Republican nominee, state Rep. Rick Saccone. The national GOP has spent millions to prop up Saccone’s campaign, and the president is due back again Saturday.
PA18: Kellyanne Conway is 'warm-up band' for Trump push in Pa. special election
Penn Live By The Associated Press Updated Mar 8, 9:41 PM; Posted Mar 8, 9:39 PM
PITTSBURGH -- In the first wave of the White House's new western Pennsylvania offensive, one of President Donald Trump's chief aides on Thursday attacked Democratic congressional candidate Conor Lamb on abortion while casting Republican Rick Saccone as "a reliable vote" for the president. White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, the first of three Republican heavyweights set to campaign in the region before Tuesday's special election, charged that even a single vote could affect Trump's policy agenda on Capitol Hill. "Every vote counts at the ballot box, but every vote counts in Washington right now too," she told a dozen campaign volunteers at an Allegheny County GOP office. She added later, "The president wants a reliable vote in Washington."
AP analysis: NRA gave $7.3 million to hundreds of schools, including Bethlehem Area and Southern Lehigh
Morning Call by Collin Binkley and Meghan Hoyer March 9, 2018
The National Rifle Association has given more than $7 million in grants to hundreds of U.S. schools in recent years, according to an Associated Press analysis, but few have shown any indication that they'll follow the lead of businesses that are cutting ties with the group following last month's massacre at a Florida high school. Florida's Broward County school district is believed to be the first to stop accepting NRA money after a gunman killed 17 people at one of its schools Feb. 14. The teen charged in the shooting had been on a school rifle team that received NRA funding. But in some other districts, officials say they have no plans to back away. The AP analysis of the NRA Foundation's public tax records finds that about 500 schools received more than $7.3 million from 2010 through 2016, mostly through competitive grants meant to promote shooting sports. The grants have gone to a wide array of school programs, including the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, rifle teams, hunting safety courses and agriculture clubs.
Lawmakers gear up for yet another property tax fight
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 6, 2018 10:55 PM
(Harrisburg) -- A bipartisan group of state senators is plotting another attempt at legislation that has become something of a white whale in Pennsylvania -- overhauling the property tax system. They're reviving a bill that failed to pass the chamber by a single vote in 2015. Pennsylvania's property taxes largely pay for public schools, as well as local government expenses. They currently total more than $14 billion dollars annually--a number that has increased dramatically over the last decade. That's why attempts to phase them out have routinely failed: it's hard to raise enough money to replace them. Senator David Argall, a Republican from Berks County, is currently coordinating an effort to individually court fellow senators to figure out how to change the proposal to get them on board. He said he's disappointed Governor Tom Wolf, who has long supported a "responsible" property tax overhaul, isn't backing the effort more strongly. "I could really use some help from the governor's office in helping us line up those last couple of votes we need," he said. A spokesman for Wolf said he's willing to work toward a reform bill, but it "cannot tax food or clothing, and we have to ensure students and school districts aren't negatively impacted." Argall noted, the property tax landscape has shifted since his last failed attempt.
Last year, voters changed the constitution to categorize homeowners separately from businesses, which means companies could keep paying the tax while individuals get a break. Argall estimated that would roughly halve the amount that needs to be replaced with sales or income taxes.
In Florida, Bullied Students Will Get Vouchers to Attend Private School
Education Week By Arianna Prothero March 8, 2018
Florida is poised to become the first state to offer private-school vouchers specifically to students who are bullied or physically attacked in their public schools. The Florida legislature passed a sprawling education bill this week that, among several other unrelated provisions, creates a new scholarship program for students who suffer from harassment or violence to attend private schools—paid for with tax credits—and further boosts the state’s already expansive private-school choice offerings. Supporters—who argued that bullied students need to be able to escape schools that aren’t protecting them—predict the idea will catch on with parents and lawmakers beyond Florida, and potentially kick off a wave of similar legislation beyond the state. “Because once Florida does it, other states can follow that model,” said Patricia Levesque, the chief executive officer of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an influential education advocacy and lobbying group founded by Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor.
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.