Wednesday, September 11, 2019

PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept. 11: AGORA CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL FORM 990 for FYE JUNE 2017

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.

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PA Ed Policy Roundup Sept. 11, 2019

Blogger note: Although they are responsible for raising taxes that are sent as tuition payments to cybers, no elected school boards authorized cyber charters and school boards get virtually no information back from cybers besides their invoices. We will continue pushing out cyber charter 990 forms so all stakeholders might have a better understanding of how their neighbors’ tax dollars are being spent.
ProPublica Full text of "Form 990" for fiscal year ending June 2017
Tax returns filed by nonprofit organizations are public records. The Internal Revenue Service releases them in two formats: page images and raw data in XML. The raw data is more useful, especially to researchers, because it can be extracted and analyzed more easily. The pages below are a reconstruction of a tax document using raw data from the IRS.
Source: Data and stylesheets from the Internal Revenue Service. E-file viewer adapted from IRS e-File Viewer by Ben Getson.

Representing charters and Muslim women: Meet Philly’s newest school board members
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, September 11, 2019
Doha Ibrahim came to the United States four years ago, and, like most teenagers in the city, attends a high school with no admissions requirement. Imere Williams will be the first member of his family to graduate from high school; like one-third of all city students, he attends a charter school. Meet the newest members of the Philadelphia school board. Ibrahim, 17, is a senior at Abraham Lincoln High School in the Northeast. Williams, 17 and also a senior, attends Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School in West Philadelphia. Later this month, they’ll formally become the student representatives to the board, and though they won’t be sitting in on executive sessions or voting on resolutions, the youngest members of the Philadelphia School District’s governing body will be briefed on all matters germane to the board and, most important, be expected to speak for some 200,000 students in district and charter schools throughout the city for the 2019-20 school year.

PPS must clean its mess: Suspect spending embarrasses district
The PPS school board must demand self-discipline and accountability
THE EDITORIAL BOARD Pittsburgh Post-Gazette SEP 9, 2019 6:00 AM
Questions and criticism from Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale should be all the motivation the Pittsburgh Public Schools board requires to hold accountable those who have embarrassed the district with spending on travel, the value of which is suspect. Chief among Mr. DePasquale’s “initial observations” from a financial review of the district, was PPS’ ballooning travel budget, which increased from $162,258 in 2016 to $453,231 in 2019. And, notably, the lack of energy in the district’s defense of the need for this triple-digit expansion in spending. Travel for professional development is not uncommon. But Superintendent Anthony Hamlet and former Assistant Superintendent Anthony Anderson made 21 out-of-state trips in the past year, traveling to cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. PPS has claimed these trips were related to professional development, weakly noting the cost amounts to a mere fraction of the district’s budget. That attitude doesn’t sell with taxpayers who foot the bill.

Pennsylvania raises age students must start and stay in school
WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Starting in the 2020-21 school year, children in Pennsylvania will be required to enter school by the age of 6. The Pennsylvania State Board of Education enacted a resolution that will lower the current age children must start school from 8 to 6 starting next year. “Pennsylvania is just one of two states in the nation (the other being Washington state) that permit children to wait until age 8 to enter school,” the resolution states. “Lowering the compulsory age would bring Pennsylvania in line with the vast majority of other states.” Since children in Pennsylvania are not required to enroll in kindergarten, the resolution likely will affect children entering first grade. “Nobody has to go to kindergarten in Pennsylvania,” school board Vice President Cynthia Sullivan said at a policy meeting Monday, when the change was discussed. The state board of education contends that lowering the compulsory school age helps improve language and literacy skills.

Dinniman Named to Special Education & Higher Education Funding Commissions
WEST CHESTER, PA — Two legislative commissions will travel the state this fall to hear concerns about how Pennsylvania pays for special education and higher education, respectively, state Senator Andy Dinniman said. Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, has been appointed to serve on both the 15-member Special Education Funding Commission and the 19-member Higher Education Funding Commission. “Education is the largest expenditure in the state budget and one that touches and shapes the lives of so many of our residents, children, young people, and families,” Dinniman said. “It’s our duty to revisit and establish funding models that ensure state dollars are being utilized effectively and efficiently when it comes to both educating those with disabilities and ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible to all.” The Special Education Funding Commission, which was established by Act 3 of 2013, has reconvened this fall to review and reassess the formula that was established based on its initial recommendations. The commission will compile its findings in a report due by November 30, which may include recommendations to change the way special education dollars are distributed to the Commonwealth’s nearly 3,300 public schools.

When test scores drop, enrollment rises at Chester Community Charter School
Chester Matters Blog Date: September 10, 2019Author: SERoots4 Comments
When the Washington Post throws you under the bus, you know you’ve made the big leagues. That’s the case with Chester Community Charter School in the Washington Post’s article ‘How Big a Mess is Pennsylvania’s Charter School Sector…’I’ll honestly admit that the whole charter school thing has confused me from the beginning. Apparently, I’m not the only one confused because there always seems to be drama with charter schools in every city they operate. Pennsylvania has argued for decades that the funding formula is destroying the traditional public school base while doing nothing but lip service to change the funding formula. School boards approve charter schools to operate in their districts knowing it will siphon funds from the schools they are elected to serve on as board members while the charters operate with their own set of rules hidden from school board members view. Students who attend charters take the money with them that would have gone to their neighborhood public school and politely give it to the new charter school and the charter school doesn’t have to account for the money like the public school had to. Educated people could not have come up with this confusing charter school concept, could they?

Your View: Why we need more mental health professionals in schools
East Penn school board members in May approved a three-year contract with Communities in Schools to provide mental health services for students. The program runs provides education for the community on mental health issues and does group and individual counseling at Emmaus High School. State and local officials assert many districts don't have the number of mental health workers they need. (Morning Call file photo) In a Pennsylvania where our children have the mental health resources they need, Phillip Spruill Jr. would be entering sixth grade this school year. In that Pennsylvania, Phillip’s laughter would mingle in the hallways of Benjamin B. Comegys School in Philadelphia with that of his classmates, as a new academic year flush with possibilities begins. In that Pennsylvania, Phillip would feel supported, he would have the proper guidance to work through the bullying that many children his age endure, and maybe the bullying would be lessened, because other children in his public school would have the resources they need, too. In a Pennsylvania where children have the mental health resources they need, Phillip’s parents, Phillip Sr. and Lindarise Spruill, would get to see their oldest child celebrate his 12th birthday in January 2020, and many, many more birthdays after that one. In such a Pennsylvania, Phillip’s younger siblings wouldn’t grow up without the guidance and protection of their big brother.

Bethlehem Area School District starts to roll out program giving every student a laptop
When the school year started in the Bethlehem Area School District, more than 3,000 students across six schools received Chromebooks. Every student in eighth through 10th grade in Bethlehem Area received the laptop as part of the district’s one-to-one program — named for the ratio of laptops to students — that ensures every child is eventually able to work digitally. Next fall, the district will increase the number of Chromebooks given so every secondary student has one. About 85% of elementary students in Bethlehem Area have access to a digital device in the classrooms. Unlike secondary students, elementary students aren’t allowed to bring the devices home. Having access to a digital device doesn’t guarantee every student may be able to use it at home to complete homework since about 1 in 5 households in Bethlehem do not have internet access and others might have low speed. About 60 percent of the district’s 14,000 students are considered low-income, according to state numbers.

Steps to applying online – 2019 Philly High School Guide
To use the School Selection process, here’s what you should do and when.
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa September 9 — 10:22 am, 2019
The District’s online School Selection application process is for families who wish to apply to schools other than their neighborhood elementary, middle or high school. For families who do not have internet access, computer kiosks will be available at regionally based Network Offices and at the Office of Student Enrollment & Placement, 440 N. Broad St., Suite 111. Parents can also use the computers at their local Free Library branch. As usual, the District’s process includes neighborhood schools with available seats, city­wide middle schools, and citywide and special admission high schools. Charter schools have a variety of application timelines and processes. For more information about a specific charter school’s timeline and application process, contact the respective charter school directly.

The 40 Best Public High Schools in Philadelphia and the Suburbs
We crunched the numbers on academic performance and learning environment to bring you the schools at the top of their class.
by PHILLY MAG STAFF· 9/7/2019, 9:00 p.m.

Testing Resistance & Reform News: September 4 - 10, 2019
Submitted by fairtest on September 10, 2019 - 12:30pm 
Grade retention and diploma denials are among the worst politically motivated misuses of standardized tests.  That's why assessment reform activists have made repealing these counter-productive policies a top priority.  Check out these FairTest fact sheets for ammunition to use in your local campaigns.
   Grade Retention:
   Graduation Tests:

What: Informal discussion on cyber charter schools
When: 9 a.m. refreshments, 9:30 a.m. panel, Oct. 7
Where: Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 800 E. Park Ave., State College
AAUW State College Branch invites you to attend an informational panel discussion to learn more about background and issues connected with cyber charter schools. Join us on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800 E. Park Ave., State College (visitor center off Porter Road). Refreshments, 9 a.m.; panel discussion, 9:30 a.m.
The American Association of University Women State College Branch is part of a nationwide network of about 1,000 branches that are dedicated to advancing equity for women and girls.

Adolescent Health and School Start Times:  Science, Strategies, Tactics, & Logistics  Workshop Nov 13, Exton
Join school administrators and staff, including superintendents, transportation directors, principals, athletic directors, teachers, counselors, nurses, and school board members, parents, guardians, health professionals and other concerned community members for an interactive and solutions-oriented workshop on  Wednesday, November 13, 2019 9:30 am to 3:00 pm 
Clarion Hotel in Exton, PA
The science is clear. Many middle and high school days in Pennsylvania, and across the nation, start too early in the morning. The American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and many other major health and education leaders agree and have issued policy statements recommending that secondary schools start no earlier than 8:30 am to allow for sleep, health, and learning. Implementing these recommendations, however, can seem daunting.  Discussions will include the science of sleep and its connection to school start times, as well as proven strategies for successfully making change--how to generate optimum community support and work through implementation challenges such as bus routes, athletics, and more.   Register for the workshop here: Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are able to offer early bird registration for $25, which includes a box-lunch and coffee service. Seating is limited and early bird registration ends on Friday, September 13.
For more information visit the workshop website  or email

“Each member entity will have one vote for each officer. This will require boards of the various school entities to come to a consensus on each candidate and cast their vote electronically during the open voting period (Aug. 23 – Oct. 11, 2019).”
PSBA Officer Elections: Slate of Candidates
PSBA members seeking election to office for the association were required to submit a nomination form no later than June 1, 2019, to be considered. All candidates who properly completed applications by the deadline are included on the slate of candidates below. In addition, the Leadership Development Committee met on June 15th at PSBA headquarters in Mechanicsburg to interview candidates. According to bylaws, the Leadership Development Committee may determine candidates highly qualified for the office they seek. This is noted next to each person’s name with an asterisk (*).

PSBA: Nominations for The Allwein Society are open!
This award program recognizes school directors who are outstanding leaders & advocates on behalf of public schools & students. Nominations are accepted year-round with selections announced early fall: 

EPLC is accepting applications for the 2019-20 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program
Education Policy & Leadership Center
PA's premier education policy leadership program for education, policy & community leaders with 582 alumni since 1999. Application with program schedule & agenda are at 

2019 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference Oct. 16-18, 2019
WHERE: Hershey Lodge and Convention Center 325 University Drive, Hershey, PA
WHEN: Wednesday, October 16 to Friday, October 18, 201
Registration is now open!
Growth from knowledge acquired. Vision inspired by innovation. Impact created by a synergized leadership community. You are called upon to be the drivers of a thriving public education system. It’s a complex and challenging role. Expand your skillset and give yourself the tools needed for the challenge. Packed into two and a half daysꟷꟷgain access to top-notch education and insights, dynamic speakers, peer learning opportunities and the latest product and service innovations. Come to the PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference to grow!

NPE Action National Conference - Save the Date - March 28-29, 2020 in Philadelphia, PA.
The window is now open for workshop proposals for the Network for Public Education conference, March 28-29, 2020, in Philadelphia. I hope you all sign on to present on a panel and certainly we want all to attend.

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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