Tuesday, April 2, 2019

PA Ed Policy Roundup April 2: How many lawyers does it take to shut down a failing charter school?

Started in November 2010, 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, charter school leaders, 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.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Pa Schools Work: Sign the Petition & Join the April 4th Twitter Storm!
The PA Schools Work campaign is hoping to get thousands of signatures from school leaders and others across the state to increase state support for k-12 education. Please add your name to the petition that urges Governor Wolf and the General Assembly to increase their investment in education.  Click here to sign and share the petition.
Additionally, please join Pa Schools Work partners for a LIGHTNING LUNCH HOUR from 12 noon- 1 p.m. on APRIL 4-to create a Twitter storm!  The goal of the Twitter storm is to collect thousands of signatures on the petition urging adequate school funding by generating a flurry of tweets around PA SCHOOL FUNDING.   Click here to view the Pa Schools Work guide for the April 4 Twitter Storm.

How many lawyers does it take to shut down a failing charter school? | Opinion
Lisa Haver, For the Inquirer Updated: April 1, 2019 - 11:00 AM
When the School District of Philadelphia targeted Germantown High School for closure just one year before its 100th anniversary, there was no legal recourse for students or families. No law required the District to conduct an inquiry or call witnesses in order to hear testimony from those fighting to save the school. While the administration of Superintendent William Hite did hold an informal meeting at the school, the community’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Germantown High, along with 23 other neighborhood schools that had served generations of Philadelphians, was closed by vote of the School Reform Commission in a matter of months. Closing a charter school is a very different story. The Pennsylvania Charter Law mandates a lengthy legal process, beginning with weeks of hearings at the District level. Thousands of pages of documents are entered into evidence. Should the hearing examiner rule in the District’s favor, the charter school can appeal to the state’s Charter Appeal Board in the hope that the 6-person board of political appointees, most of whom have ties to the charter sector, will overrule the decision of the local board. Should that fail, the school can appeal to Commonwealth Court. A recent story by Inquirer education reporter Maddie Hanna detailed the costs involved in current efforts to shut down two city charters.

Blogger note: Total cyber charter tuition paid by PA taxpayers from 500 school districts for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 was over $1.6 billion; $393.5 million, $398.8 million, $436.1 million and $454.7 million respectively. We will continue rolling out cyber charter tuition expenses for taxpayers in education committee members, legislative leadership and various other districts.
In 2016-17, Senate Minority Leader @SenatorCosta’s school districts had to send over $18.2 million to chronically underperforming cybers that they never authorized. #SB34 (Schwank) or #HB526 (Sonney) could change that.
Links to additional bill information and several resources have been moved to the end of today’s postings
Data Source: PDE via PSBA

Baldwin-Whitehall SD
Penn Hills SD
Pittsburgh SD
Riverview SD
Steel Valley SD
West Mifflin Area SD
Wilkinsburg Borough SD
Woodland Hills SD


“Provide adequate and equitable K through 12 education funding: Pennsylvania’s academic gaps are among the worst in the nation. Minority children and those living in poverty trail far behind their white and better-off peers in grade-level achievement. Research shows that money and how we spend it makes a difference. It’s especially effective when targeting underfunded schools and delivering classroom improvements and direct services that help children overcome hardship, explore career opportunities and achieve academically.”
Their view: State must invest in its children
Times Leader Opinion by Joseph F. Perugino - Guest Columnist March 30, 2019
Major General (ret.) Joseph F. Perugino, U.S. Army is former commander of the 28th Infantry Division, PA National Guard and executive advisory council, mission: Readiness - Military Leaders For Kids, member.
As the state legislature debates budget priorities, an area of concern on both sides of the aisle is the readiness of our future workforce. As a retired U.S. Army general, I too am concerned about this especially since the young people of today are the service members of the future. Unfortunately, a look at our youth shows a shortfall in “citizen-readiness” – the idea that they can be contributing members of society in any arena. In particular, too few are prepared for military service. The U.S. Army felt the effects of this by missing its 2018 recruiting goal by 8.5 percent, or about 6,500 recruits. In fact, a shocking 71 percent of young Pennsylvanians do not qualify for military service. That’s three young people in four whose potential is doused before they arrive at the recruiting office. One third are obese. One third lack a high school diploma or can’t pass military entrance exams. The final third have records of criminal activity or substance abuse. As a society we must be investing to ensure an expanding workforce talent pool, not a diminishing one. It’s time to support a citizen-ready generation with a three-part continuum of investment that strengthens learning from birth through high school. As part of the final state budget, our leaders must expand investments to:

March revenue collections bring in $4.6 billion, putting Pa. $364 million ahead of estimate
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com Posted Apr 1, 1:26 PM
March general fund collections put Pennsylvania's revenues more than $1 billion ahead of where they were at the same point in last fiscal year. March brought good news to the state’s fiscal situation with general fund collections totaling $4.6 billion, or $76.1 million more than anticipated. That brings the year-to-date collections to $24.7 billion, which is nearly $364 million, or 1.5 percent above estimate for the first nine months of the fiscal year, according to state Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell. Compared to the same period last year, this year’s overall tax revenue is $1.2 billion, or 5.2 percent, higher. Much of last month’s positive revenue news came out of the sales tax and corporation taxes. Both came in higher than anticipated with the sales tax receipts totaling nearly $821 million, or $19.1 million above estimate, and corporation tax revenue adding up to $2.3 billion, or nearly $114 million above estimate.

Vestige of the past, state House’s ‘lobbyist room’ vanishes
AP News By MARC LEVY March 30, 2019
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — It happened without any warning: The “lobbyist room” at the back of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives chamber was closed and is now off limits to lobbyists. For decades, lobbyists could sit there in a handful of comfortable chairs, watch floor proceedings on TV, print out copies of legislation and send messages to lawmakers in the chamber through a House page who was effectively assigned full-time to this task during floor sessions. The room was, perhaps, a vestige of a clubbier time decades ago when lobbyists were said to have mingled on the floor with lawmakers during voting sessions, and representatives from the oil and railroad industries were known as the 51st and 52nd senators. But no more: The House’s chief administrative official said he decided last year it is not appropriate and shut it down before even telling its regulars.

Voters head to the polls in special election to fill Pa. Senate seat
Pam Iovino, D. Raja vie for 37th District; covers Peters Township and southern, western Allegheny County
JULIAN ROUTH Pittsburgh Post-Gazette jrouth@post-gazette.com APR 2, 2019 6:03 AM
Voters in Allegheny County's western and southern suburbs and in Peters Township in Washington County will head to the polls Tuesday to vote for their next state senator. The special election for Pennsylvania's 37th Senatorial District seat -- vacated by Guy Reschenthaler in January after he was sworn in to Congress -- pits Democrat Pam Iovino, 62, of Mt. Lebanon, against Republican D. Raja, 53, of Mt. Lebanon. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. Anyone in line to vote at 8 p.m. will be permitted to cast their ballots.

New study pushes Pa. to embrace trauma-informed education
WHYY/Keystone Crossroads By Kaity Kline April 2, 2019
Research suggests that about half of the county’s children experience at least one traumatic event before the age of 17. These adverse childhood experiences — known as ACES — include experiencing or witnessing violence; living in poverty; or having a parent go to jail. Even as school districts across the country become more aware of how these traumas can affect learning, there’s been little concrete policy on the state or federal level for how schools should prepare. A new study from the nonprofit Research for Action highlights “promising models” nationwide and calls on state lawmakers to implement a comprehensive approach in Pennsylvania. “There are two areas where the research is extremely clear. Childhood trauma is an extremely common experience, and traumatic stress can have a wide range of negative consequences for children,” said Rachel Comly, a senior analyst at Research for Action. The study recommends that schools provide professional development that reflects the complexity and sensitivity of trauma.

“We want your input. We are committed to making the budget process transparent and easy to understand. You can access the specifics of our budget here, and we strongly urge you to participate in the budgetary process. Here’s what you can do:
·         Attend our next Finance & Facilities Committee meeting on April 11;
·         Attend the Board of Education budget hearing on April 25;
·         Submit written testimony to the Board of Education at schoolboard@philasd.org;
·         And advocate for fair school funding with your elected officials at the city, state, and federal levels”
Philly school board seeks your input on budget process. Here’s how to help. | Opinion
Lee Huang and Leticia Egea-Hinton, For the Inquirer Updated: April 1, 2019 - 6:00 AM
Lee Huang and Leticia Egea-Hinton are co-chairs of the Board of Education’s Finance & Facilities Committee.
As newly appointed members of the Board of Education, we come with diverse backgrounds and opinions. However, as we enter this year’s budget season, we share a singular focus on creating and passing a budget that maintains the school district’s financial stability and invests in initiatives that continue and accelerate student achievement across all schools. On Thursday, we took the first step in this process by adopting the Lump Sum Budget for fiscal year 2020. On May 30, the board will adopt a final budget. We think of a budget as reflecting a set of priorities, and so we have worked hard to make sure that this, our first budget, represents the board’s priorities. This budget includes real investments in schools that will build on strategies that we know work and fill critical needs. These include: 30 additional English Language teachers, new investments in Special Education, a curriculum specialist for World Languages, teacher-coaches for English Language Arts and Math, a new Office of Career Connectedness in conjunction with the City, expanded behavioral health staff and counselors, 25 additional teacher-residents for hard-to-fill subject areas, such as STEM and special education, and more. By making investments in areas that will provide our students with the support they need, we expect to see continued progress in student achievement and school climates.

Philadelphia Superintendent on Leading Through a Financial Crisis and Raising Expectations For Students
Education Week By Denisa R. Superville on March 29, 2019 6:15 PM
William Hite arrived in Philadelphia in 2012, to a school district in financial distress. A year later, Hite and the then-appointed School Reform Commission (the equivalent of the school board when the district was under state control) sparked outrage when they closed about two dozen schoolsand laid off nearly 20 percent of the district's staff. The district's financial woes are no longer the biggest headlines from the City of Brotherly Love—though those days are not fully in the rearview mirror for one of the nation's largest school systems: the district still has a long-term revenue problem, and a 2017 report estimated that it would need about $4.5 billion to bring its aging school buildings up to code. And that's not the only thing that's changed since Hite arrived. As of last year, the district is no longer under state control, with the nine school board members now appointed by the city's mayor. [Note: At the board's meeting on Thursday night, a group of activists shut down the proceedings and questioned the board's legitimacy, after a vote to require metal detectors at all high schools.] On Tuesday, the district touted progress since 2015, including that it had doubled the number of Advanced Placement and dual enrollment courses, and that its graduation rate had increased to 69 percent—still lower than the state's overall graduation rate for 2016-17, which was 86.6 percent. Education Week spoke with Hite earlier this month about his tenure, continuing challenges the district faces, bright spots, and advice for other urban district leaders confronting conditions like the ones he encountered when he first arrived in Philadelphia. 

After Unionville's success, other school districts considering delayed school start
Daily Local by Fran Maye fmaye@21st-centurymedia.com Mar 31, 2019
EAST MARLBOROUGH—For the past two years, Unionville High School and Middle School students have been starting the school day about 25 minutes later than most other schools in Chester County. School directors were confident the extra sleep for students would be beneficial to wellness when they passed the measure 8 to 1 in 2017. Now, several other school districts are seriously considering delaying school start times after seeing the success at Unionville. This week, Lower Merion School District formed a committee to study delayed school start time. Radnor and Tredyffrin-Easttown school districts are seriously studying the issue. Phoenixville Area School District followed Unionville to become the second school district to adopt later start times. In an interview with WHYY earlier this week, John Sanville, superintendent of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District said feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “I’d say the positive to negative is 10 to 1,” Sanville said. “It has made family life better. There isn’t a battle every day. Kids are more alert. It’s been tremendous in terms of feedback.” The students catch the bus at 7 a.m., instead of 6:17 a.m. Classes at Unionville High School and C.F. Patton Middle School start at 8 a.m. instead of 7:35 and elementary school classes. The school day at Unionville ends at 2:43 p.m.. It had ended at 2:18 p.m. The district made the change, Sanville said, purely from a student wellness perspective.

Radnor board recommends plan pushing back high school start time
Main Line Suburban Life By Linda Stein lstein@21st-centurymedia.com @lsteinreporter Mar 31, 2019
RADNOR — While the Radnor Township School Board likely will not vote on a proposal to change school start times until next month, it appears that most of the board is leaning toward making that change, which would allow high school students to get more sleep. The 35-member sleep and school start time committee, which drew praise from nearly everyone for its hard work, presented its final recommended plan to the board March 26 that would have the high school day begin at 8:30 a.m., the middle school at 7:50 a.m. and the elementary schools at 9:07 a.m. Currently, the high school starts at 7:35 a.m., with the middle school beginning at 8 a.m. and the elementary schools at 9 a.m. Committee member Anthony Rybarczyk, director of elementary teaching and learning, said, “The district always committed to the health of students” and “chronic adolescent sleep loss is a major concern.”  The district has been studying the issue of adolescent sleep — or lack thereof — for about two years and brought in psychologists to talk about how changes in teenagers’ circadian rhythms tend to make them stay up later and sleep later than they did when they were younger. 

Success Starts Here is a multi-year public awareness campaign sharing positive news in PA public education.

Calling all Norristown parents, educators, leaders & stakeholders! Join us for Norristown Parents & Students for Education on Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Norristown Public Library.
Together we can harness the power of all to make a difference in our schools and communities! Hear from the experts and learn how to advocate! Free breakfast & givewaways. Don't miss out!
Sponsored by Norristown Men of Excellence, The Urban League of Philadelphia & PA Schools Work.

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Announces Public Event: Poverty’s Impact on Early Literacy featuring Donna Cooper, Johnstown, PA— April 2nd 2019
The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown welcomes Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Donna Cooper on April 2nd, 2019 at 6 PM to speak on the topic of “Poverty’s Impact on Early Literacy.” All are welcome to attend this public event as Donna Cooper and many other guest respondents will be in attendance. This panel of local experts include The University of Pittsburgh’s faculty members, Michael Vuckovich and Dr. Jackie Myers, as well as CEO of United Way of the Laurel Highlands, Bill McKinney and Director of Nurse-Family Partnership of Blair County, Lisa Ritchey. Topics to be discussed will range from Poverty’s Impact on Early Literacy, personal experiences within school systems, United Way’s goal on eliminating the literacy gap, and also how nurses are going into the homes of mothers in poverty helping them develop. The event will be held at the John P. Murtha Center located at the UPJ Campus. This event will begin at 6 PM and end around 8 PM. Pre-Registration through Google Forms is encouraged, but not required. All are welcome to walk-in the night of April 2nd to enjoy this meaningful event. 

The League of Women Voters of Delaware County and the Delaware County Intermediate Unit present: EPLC 2019 Regional Training Workshop for PA School Board Candidates (and Incumbents) April 27th 8am – 4:30pm at DCIU
Ron Cowell of The Pennsylvania Education Policy and Leadership Center will conduct a regional full day workshop for 2019 Pennsylvania School Board Candidates.
Date & Time: Saturday, April 27, 2019, 8am to 4:30pm
Location: Delaware County Intermediate Unit, 200 Yale Ave. Morton, PA
Incumbents, non-incumbents, campaign supporters and all interested voters are invited to participate in this workshop. Registration is $75 (payable by credit card) and includes coffee and pastries, lunch, and materials. For questions contact Adriene Irving at 610-938-9000 ext. 2061.
To register, please visit http://tinyurl.com/CandidatesWksp

PSBA: Nominations for the Allwein Society are welcome!
The Allwein Society is an award program recognizing school directors who are outstanding leaders and advocates on behalf of public schools and students. This prestigious honor was created in 2011 in memory of Timothy M. Allwein, a former PSBA staff member who exemplified the integrity and commitment to advance political action for the benefit of public education. Nominations are accepted year-round and inductees will be recognized at the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference, among other honors.

PSBA: 2019 State of Education report now online
PSBA Website February 19, 2019
The 2019 State of Education report is now available on PSBA.org in PDF format. The report is a barometer of not only the key indicators of public school performance, but also the challenges schools face and how they are coping with them. Data reported comes from publicly available sources and from a survey to chief school administrators, which had a 66% response rate. Print copies of the report will be mailed to members soon.

All PSBA-members are invited to attend Advocacy Day on Monday, April 29, 2019 at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. In addition, this year PSBA will be partnering with the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units (PAIU) and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) to strengthen our advocacy impact. The focus for the day will be meetings with legislators to discuss critical issues affecting public education. There is no cost to attend, and PSBA will assist in scheduling appointments with legislators once your registration is received. The day will begin with a continental breakfast and issue briefings prior to the legislator visits. Registrants will receive talking points, materials and leave-behinds to use with their meetings. PSBA staff will be stationed at a table in the main Rotunda during the day to answer questions and provide assistance. The day’s agenda and other details will be available soon. If you have questions about Advocacy Day, legislative appointments or need additional information, contact Jamie.Zuvich@psba.org  Register for Advocacy Day now at http://www.mypsba.org/
PSBA members can register online now by logging in to myPSBA. If you need assistance logging in and registering contact Alysha Newingham, Member Data System Administrator at alysha.newingham@psba.org or call her at (717) 506-2450, ext. 3420

PSBA Board Presidents’ Panel
Learn, discuss, and practice problem solving with school leader peers facing similar or applicable challenges. Workshop-style discussions will be facilitated and guided by PSBA experts. With the enormous challenges facing schools today, effective and knowledgeable board leadership is essential to your productivity and performance as a team of ten.
Locations & Dates
Due to inclement weather, some dates have been rescheduled. The updated schedule is below.

Pennsylvania schools work – for students, communities and the economy when adequate resources are available to give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.
Join A Movement that Supports our Schools & Communities
PA Schools Work website
Our students are in classrooms that are underfunded and overcrowded. Teachers are paying out of pocket and picking up the slack. And public education is suffering. Each child in Pennsylvania has a right to an excellent public education. Every child, regardless of zip code, deserves access to a full curriculum, art and music classes, technical opportunities and a safe, clean, stable environment. All children must be provided a level chance to succeed. PA Schools Work is fighting for equitable, adequate funding necessary to support educational excellence. Investing in public education excellence is the path to thriving communities, a stable economy and successful students.

Save the Date:  PARSS Annual Conference May 1-3, 2019
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Mountainview Country Club
Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools

PSBA Tweet March 12, 2019 Video Runtime: 6:40
In this installment of #VideoEDition, learn about legislation introduced in the PA Senate & House of Representatives that would save millions of dollars for school districts that make tuition payments for their students to attend cyber charter schools.

PSBA Summaries of Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 526

PSBA Sample Board Resolution in Support of Statewide Cyber Charter School Funding Reform

PSBA Sample Board Resolution in Support of Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 256

How much could your school district and taxpayers save if there were statewide flat tuition rates of $5000 for regular ed students and $8865 for special ed.? See the estimated savings by school district here.
Education Voters PA Website February 14, 2019

Has your state representative cosponsored HB526?

Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.

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