Monday, February 8, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup Feb 8: #PABudget Day 223: No New Taxes! Just cut the stuff that doesn't work!

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3850 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, 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 and LinkedIn

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

Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup February 8, 2016:
#PABudget Day 223: No New Taxes! Just cut the stuff that doesn't work!



RSVP Today for One of EPLC’s Education Policy Forum Series on Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 State Budget Proposal
Thursday, February 11, 2016 – Harrisburg
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - Philadelphia
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Pittsburgh



No New Taxes! Just cut the stuff that doesn't work!
Philly Daily News Daily Signe Cartoon bi Signe Wilkenson 02/07/16

BLOG: Watch a Budget Speech Preview from Governor Wolf
February 07, 2016 By: The Office of Governor Tom Wolf
On Tuesday, February 9th at 11:30 AM, Governor Tom Wolf will deliver his 2016-2017 Budget Address. The speech will be live streamed on our website at governor.pa.gov/live. You can also find updates and behind-the-scenes content on the 2016-2017 budget announcement on our Facebook and Twitter all this week.  Watch this budget preview from Governor Wolf — and make sure you tune in for the full 2016-2017 Budget Address live this Tuesday at 11:30 AM at governor.pa.gov/live.

Did you catch our weekend postings?
PA Ed Policy Roundup February 7, 2016: Pennsylvania #pabudget impasse undermining local schools; "holding the line" in Harrisburg paves the way for local tax increases

Time for Gov. Wolf to issue a new budget plan without the first one settled
Inquirer by Angela Couloumbis, HARRISBURG BUREAU. Updated: FEB 8, 2016 — 1:07 AM
HARRISBURG - This time last year, talk in the Capitol swirled around how newly elected Gov. Wolf's first budget was going to be bold and controversial.  It was to be an early test of whether the mild-mannered Democratic governor with the polished business resume and the famously unpredictable Republican-dominated legislature could put aside political and policy differences and achieve something.  Few could have predicted just how messy that experiment would get.  Nearly 12 months later, the governor finds himself still wading through a stubborn and mentally exhausting stalemate over his proposed spending priorities for the current fiscal year.  And now he has to unveil a budget for the next one.  On Tuesday, Wolf will address a joint session of the legislature and implore lawmakers to embrace some of the same core ideas he advocated last year: more money for public schools, and a permanent solution to gaping deficits that have plagued the state's budgets for more than half a decade.

Meanwhile, school districts borrow to stay open, which means more costs to taxpayers for fees and interest.  The Philadelphia School District so far has borrowed $825 million, incurring additional costs of $4 million, all because of the wonderful way the Keystone State is run.
It's Pennsylvania budget time (again): Can you say, 'Yay'?
by John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist. Updated: FEB 8, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
YOU KNOW WHY they didn't want to do a budget presentation last Tuesday, right?
It was Groundhog Day. Too fitting for Harrisburg: same stuff, over and over again.
So it's this Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, which is also appropriate: the day before a season of ashes and sacrifice.  So here we go.  Gov. Wolf - he of optimism absent reason - on Tuesday will address a joint session of the Republican legislature in the House chamber - a.k.a. home of the Flat Earth Society - right around noon.  This is so GOP leaders can then have Wolf's budget proposal for lunch.  That's what happened last year. Probably will happen this year.  Pennsylvania, you may know, is without a complete budget since last June. It faces a huge deficit. Negotiations have been fruitless. And there's little evidence things will get better soon.  Some blame Democrat Wolf, saying he's naive and unable to understand - let alone deal - with the caught-in-quicksand culture of the Capitol.  Others blame "the party of no," suggesting that neither LBJ nor Monty Hall could make a deal with these guys.  Either way, nothing moves, rancor reigns, and reconciliation waits in limbo.

For his 2nd budget, Gov. Wolf needs to hit the 'reset' button: Dennis Roddy
PennLive Op-Ed  By Dennis Roddy on February 06, 2016 at 11:00 AM, updated February 07, 2016 at 7:35 AM
A former Corbett administration speechwriter, Dennis Roddy, of Pittsburgh, is a frequent PennLive Opinion contributor.
Gov. Tom Wolf has a tricky gig in the theater of politics this week, brazenly unveiling a second budget while the first remains frozen in political amber.  Even in the best of climates, a budget speech has a certain aroma of futility.  A single speech will no more pass a budget than a lecture in science will educate a guinea pig.  The budget speech is poetry. The budget process is math.  The mischief is that if you botch one, you make the other harder.  By Tom Corbett's fourth year, everybody around him thought they had the answer and they all dipped their hands into the prose to the point that the only thing missing from the governor's budget speech was the governor's voice.  Nobody has ever heard of an eloquent committee. Nor have they heard  much of Tom Corbett   lately.

Public deserves better from Harrisburg
GoErie Editorial February 7, 2016 01:01 AM
As we process the political bluster and campaign-style zingers already coming out of Harrisburg, it's hard to regard the start of the budget process in the state capital with anything but dread.  The sinking feeling starts with the reality that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday will propose a new budget for the state before he and the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have finished work on the current one. The state limps along with a stopgap budget amid a climate of sniping and gridlock.  Wolf has signaled that on his signature issue, at least, his 2016-17 budget proposal will be another round in a political struggle that's raged since about this time a year ago. He'll again seek hefty increases in education funding, which was his top issue in a 2014 campaign that saw him elected by a wide margin.  He said his budget will assume education funding for the current fiscal year will be at the level agreed to in a scuttled budget deal in December with GOP legislative leaders. And he'll propose another 3.3 percent increase for 2016-17.

State budget stalemate enters unpredictable future as Gov. Wolf readies next year's plan
Lancaster Online by Sam Janesch Staff Writer Feburary 8, 2016
The state of Pennsylvania is entering uncharted territory.  With this year’s state budget still very much unfinished business, Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday will introduce a spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, ensuring a complicated and uncertain process of negotiating two budgets at once.  “The one thing we know is this is unpredictable,” said G. Terry Madonna, political analyst and Franklin & Marshall College political science professor. “There are no rules. There is no rulebook by which we could make any assessment of what's going to happen.”  In a typical year, the Legislature holds several weeks of procedural hearings to discuss the governor's budget proposal before it puts together its version, which is presented by the end of June.  These hearings are scheduled this year too, but lawmakers and political observers alike don’t know how it’s all going to shake out.  In interviews this week, both the governor’s office and spokespeople for Republican legislative leaders said they are still focusing on this year’s budget and couldn’t say what is likely to change after this week. Wolf was unavailable for comment on Friday.  But the consensus is clear: it’s about to get much more complicated.

'Erosion of trust' in government as budget impasse hits day 223
Lancaster Online by Sam Janesch Staff Writer Feburary 8, 2016
At the beginning of a new state budget season, Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican Legislature remain entrenched in their positions negotiating the last one.  It’s an ideological standoff with no end in sight. And on day 223 of the stalemate, compromise appears as elusive as it did in July with each side blaming the other.   “The governor is going to continue to work on [his 2015-16 spending plan] and unfortunately Republican leaders have not been willing to work with him,” Wolf’s spokesman Jeff Sheridan said.  Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, acknowledged the governor was willing to meet Republicans on two of their priorities — pension reform and liquor privatization — but raising taxes to further fund education has been a hardened position he’s unwilling to move away from.

With few exceptions, school districts seek insurance against uncertainty
Intelligencer By Gary Weckselblatt, staff writer Posted: Monday, February 8, 2016 6:00 am
Since the adoption in 2006 of Act 1, Pennsylvania's property tax law, the Hatboro-Horsham School District has never sought to hike property taxes above the inflation-based index.
What's more, the district never even applied for exceptions on items such as retirement and special education costs, which would have allowed for a higher tax increase.  This year is different.  Hatboro-Horsham has applied for exceptions in its 2016-17 preliminary budget that could nearly double a potential tax increase from the 2.4 percent index to 4.78 percent. And it's hardly alone.  Most districts in Bucks County and eastern Montgomery County are seeking exceptions from the state Department of Education to raise taxes above the index.
Besides Hatboro-Horsham, Abington, Centennial, Central Bucks, Lower Moreland, New Hope-Solebury, North Penn, Pennridge, Quakertown and Upper Dublin are seeking the authority to raise taxes anywhere from 3.14 to 6.54 percent.  Bensalem, Bristol, Morrisville, Neshaminy and Pennsbury also passed preliminary budgets to leave open the option of using exceptions to exceed their respective index rate, if necessary, officials said.  Only Bristol Township, Council Rock, Palisades, Souderton and Upper Moreland have passed resolutions to stay within the index.  The uncertainty of state funding, along with efforts at property tax reform, are the key reasons. While districts are mandated to formulate spending plans for 2016-17, the governor and legislature have yet to finalize a state budget for the 2015-16 school year.

Delco school districts crafting budgets despite uncertainty at state level
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 02/07/16, 10:46 PM EST
School districts throughout Delaware County are doing their best to navigate the uncertain waters of budget building, particularly as they prepare to put together their financial packages with the state budget not yet in place.  In Springfield School District, where 15 percent of the budget is comprised of state funds, officials like others throughout the county are crafting a budget using last year’s numbers.  “We showed our revenues as level funded,” Donal Mooney, Springfield director of operations, said, adding that that included the transportation and special education subsidies.  He explained that this is an approach they’ve taken the last few years.  The onus then falls largely on the district taxpayers, who fund 84 percent of the budget. One percent is funded federally.  When the subsidies are not increased, Mooney explained, local taxes are used to fill in the difference.  “Unfortunately, it creates a larger burden on the local tax base,” Mooney said.

Pa. budget impasse complicates teacher contract negotiations
District officials still uncertain of their financial status despite release of emergency funding.
BY CHRISTINA TATU OF THE MORNING CALL February 8, 2016
Several Lehigh Valley school districts are currently trying to settle teacher contracts while their state aid remains in limbo— a task education officials say has become “extraordinarily difficult” at a time when districts are unsure of their financial future.  A big part of the problem is that personnel costs — salaries and benefits ——make up about 67 percent of a school district’s expenditures. So negotiating raises and health care payments can be tricky.  “You can’t afford to make a mistake, and you can’t afford not to know what your financial position is going into the bargaining process,” said Jay Himes, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.  Locally, Easton, Northampton and Southern Lehigh are among school districts that are in the early stages of negotiations as the state’s budget stalemate enters its seventh month.  Last month Gov. Tom Wolf released $2.4 billion in basic education emergency funding to the school districts, said officials from the State Department of Education.  It’s not clear, however, when or if additional emergency funding will be released, Himes said.

Cash-strapped Daniel Boone School Board explores cost cuts
By Keith Smoker - Reading Eagle correspondent  Saturday February 6, 2016 12:01 AM
The Daniel Boone School Board's finance committee is talking about cost-saving measures aimed at staving off potential real estate tax increases and negative fund balances that could be a result of the state's budget stalemate.  "Hypothetically, our fund balance could be in the negative by June," Assistant Business Manager Michael Miller said at a committee meeting Thursday.  Business Manager Loren Small said the district's preliminary budget, which shows a 6 percent real estate tax increase, is based on the worst-case scenario in which state help would be stalled or postponed.

"Charters will continue to grow as long as parents lack confidence in traditional public schools to get their act together before it's too late for their children."
Making wise school choices
Inquirer Editorial Updated: FEBRUARY 7, 2016 — 9:52 AM EST
Watching the proliferation of charter schools in Philadelphia and across America reminds one of the monotone pronouncement of the part-robot, part-human Borg as they conquer planet after planet in Star Trek: "Resistance is futile."  The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says the number of charter students has increased sixfold in 15 years to nearly three million. They attend more than 6,800 public charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia. California ranks first, with 1,234 charters; Pennsylvania is 10th, with 175. More than 400 new charters opened this school year, but 270 others closed for various reasons - a reminder that charters, like traditional schools, vary in quality.  The question of quality was at the root of the recent showdown involving John Wister School in Germantown. Citing improvements at Wister, Philadelphia schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. withdrew a proposal to turn it into a charter, only to have the School Reform Commission overrule him.

Ex-principal of Franklin Towne charter files whistle-blower suit
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer. Updated: FEBRUARY 8, 2016 — 1:07 AM EST
A federal whistle-blower suit claims an elementary principal at the Franklin Towne Charter School in Bridesburg was hired under false pretenses and then terminated after he raised serious concerns about its operations.  Todd A. Dupell alleges that he was wrongfully dismissed as principal last August after he complained to the board chair that the charter was billing the Philadelphia School District for full-day kindergarten even though the program was not full day; the charter was awash in nepotism; and the school was paying the wife of a former board member $80,000 for a nonexistent job because otherwise her husband could "make noise."  Dupell also alleged that the charter was violating state law because it was not providing required services to students who were learning English.  He is suing Franklin Towne Charter School, its board and several officials, including CEO Joseph M. Venditti; chief academic officer Patrick Field, and Cynthia A. Marelia, longtime board chair.

What is 'dark money' and how is it affecting our politics?
Penn Live By John L. Micek | jmicek@pennlive.com  Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 02, 2016 at 1:25 PM, updated February 04, 2016 at 4:41 PM
So if you've been paying attention to politics for the last couple of years, you've probably seen television commercials or online advertisements, sponsored by seemingly innocuously named groups, advocating on behalf of this or that issue.  For instance, in Wisconsin, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin was the subject of an online advertising campaign by a group called Americans for Prosperity, which exhorted voters to tell Baldwin that  "Wisconsin can't afford Washington's wasteful spending."  That's 'dark money' in action, which critics say is eroding our politics and giving monied interests a voice louder than that of the average voter.  And here's a quick primer on what this Darth Vader of political cash is - and more importantly - what it is not.

'Dark Money': How a conspiracy of billionaires is undermining American democracy
Post Gazette Book Review By Glenn C. Altschuler February 7, 2016 12:00 AM
In the late 1980s, Richard Fink, the principal political aide of Charles Koch, laid out a blueprint for a takeover of American politics. The first phase required investments in intellectuals and think tanks to produce ideas and turn them into marketable policy initiatives. The next phase involved subsidizing “grass-roots” citizen groups that would elect politicians primed to enact the policies — and along with “special interest” lobbyists, keep the pressure on them and government agencies.  Faced with serious threats to their energy businesses from environmentalists in and outside the government, Charles and David Koch (whose father was a founding member of the John Birch Society) committed hundreds of millions of dollars to this “vertically and horizontally integrated” plan to establish a libertarian, anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union, anti-social welfare, pro-corporate America.  In “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right,” Jane Mayer, a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,” provides an extraordinarily well-documented account of the influential, interlocking organizations with innocuous names created by the Koch brothers.

"The intensifying courtship of ultra-rich political partisans, which is occurring in private on both sides of the aisles in luxury resorts and phone calls, stands in stark contrast to the public discussion on the campaign trail, which is dominated by the concerns of the lower- and middle-class just struggling to get by. The phenomenon ― and the findings of POLITICO’s analysis of the top 100 donors ― illustrates the unprecedented influence of the ultra-rich in the second presidential cycle after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which cleared the way for unlimited campaign spending and led to the creation of super PACs"
The POLITICO 100: Billionaires dominate 2016
The 100 biggest donors have given more than the 2 million smallest and are being intensely courted.
Politico By KENNETH P. VOGEL and ISAAC ARNSDORF 02/08/16 05:14 AM EST
The 100 biggest donors of 2016 cycle have spent $195 million trying to influence the presidential election ― more than the $155 million spent by the two million smallest donors combined — according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data.  The analysis found that the leading beneficiaries of checks from the top 100 donors were Jeb Bush's floundering campaign for the GOP nomination (a supportive super PAC received $49 million from donors on the list), Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton (super PACs dedicated to her raised $38 million from top 100 donors) and Ted Cruz's insurgent GOP campaign ($37 million).

"In 2014 K12 suffered a big blow when the 10,800-student Agora Cyber Charter School in Pennsylvania ditched the private management company in favor of managing its own operations."
K12 Inc. Names Stuart Udell, Former Catapult Learning Official, as CEO
EdWeek Market Brief by Sean Cavanagh February 5 2016
Major online education provider K12 Inc., a favorite target of critics of the for-profit school industry, has named former Catapult Learning official Stuart J. Udell as its CEO.  Udell replaces Nate Davis, who K12 said would remain connected to the Herndon, Va.-based company by serving as executive chairman of its board of directors.  K12 Inc. has weathered a tumultuous period of changes over the past few years. Its enrollment numbers and overall performance have disappointed investors. This week the company’s stock was trading at $10 a share, down from $16.53 a year ago and $36.78 a little over two years ago.

Acting U.S. Ed. Secretary: Educators 'unfairly blamed' for schools' challenges
USA Today by  Greg Toppo, USATODAY4:47 p.m. EST February 7, 2016
PHILADELPHIA — In his first major speech, the acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King apologized to the nation’s teachers.  Speaking to a small group of teachers, students and local politicians here last month, just three weeks after taking over the post, King admitted the USA’s education debate over the past few years has been “characterized by more heat than light,” and that despite reformers’ best intentions, “teachers and principals, at times, have felt attacked and unfairly blamed for the challenges our nation faces.”  King acknowledged the attacks had come from as high up as his own federal agency in Washington, D.C., where he’d served as a top advisor to former Education Secretary Arne Duncan for more than a year.


PSBA Members Budget Update Webinar
FEB 12, 2016 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Join PSBA Assistant Executive Director of Public Policy John Callahan as he hosts PA Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera to discuss the proposed 2016-17 state budget. Participants will learn about issues impacting public education related to the budget impasse and the recent release of emergency funding to school districts during this live, complimentary members-only webinar.
PLEASE NOTE: Registration is only open to PSBA members. All registrations must be manually verified before links are sent so please allow for a delay in receiving this information. We cannot guarantee receipt of this information in time if registering less than one hour before the presentation starts at noon on Feb. 12.

Public Interest Law Center: Discipline, Truancy and More
Philadelphia, PA Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
This seminar is designed to address disciplinary issues. The presentation will include disciplinary rights of students not yet identified for special education services or 504 plans; the disciplinary rights of students with IEPs and 504 plans, and an advocate’s view of assisting families with truancy issues.  Tickets range from $50 (webinar) to $200 (private attorneys), and there is a "Pay What You Can Option" so that no one is turned away from this important program. 
CLE credit is available for attorneys licensed in Pennsylvania that attend the seminar in person.
Questions? Contact Michael at mberton@pilcop.org or call 267.546.1303.

PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Southeastern Region Forum Series"Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Networking and Coffee - 9:30 a.m. Program - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Penn Center for Educational Leadership (5th Floor)
University of Pennsylvania - 3440 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director, Education Law Center
Dr. George Steinhoff, Superintendent, Penn Delco School District
One or more representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
RSVP for Southeastern Forum on-line at

EPLC PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Capital Region Forum Series" Thursday, February 11, 2016
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Harrisburg Hilton Hotel - Two North Second Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director, Lancaster-Lebanon IU #13
Thomas Gluck, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units
Representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.
RSVP for Harrisburg Forum on-line at 

PSBA New School Director Training Remaining Locations:
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield
PSBA New School Director Training
School boards who will welcome new directors after the election should plan to attend PSBA training to help everyone feel more confident right from the start. This one-day event is targeted to help members learn the basics of their new roles and responsibilities. Meet the friendly, knowledgeable PSBA team and bring everyone on your “team of 10” to get on the same page fast.
  • $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN PassNote: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
  • One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
  • Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
  • Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class

Save the Dates for These 2016 Annual EPLC Regional State Budget Education Policy Forums
Sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Thursday, February 11 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Harrisburg
Wednesday, February 17 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania)
Thursday, February 25 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Pittsburgh
Invitation and more details in January

Attend the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia February 26-28
United Opt Out: The Movement to End Corporate Reform will hold its annual conference on Philadelphia from February 26-28.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:00 - 3:30 at the Hilton Harrisburg.
PA Budget and Policy Center website
Join us for an in-depth look at the Governor's 2016-17 budget proposal, including what it means for education, health and human services, and local communities. The Summit will focus on the leading issues facing the commonwealth in 2016, with workshops, lunch, and a legislative panel discussion.  Space is limited, so fill out the form below to reserve your spot at the Budget Summit.
Thursday, March 3, 2016 Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg Pennsylvania
The event is free, but PBPC welcomes donations of any size to help off-set costs.

PASBO 61st Annual Conference and Exhibits March 8 - 11, 2016
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

PenSPRA's Annual Symposium, Friday April 8th in Shippensburg, PA
PenSPRA, or the Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association, has developed a powerhouse line-up of speakers and topics for a captivating day of professional development in Shippensburg on April 8th. Learn to master data to defeat your critics, use stories to clarify your district's brand and take your social media efforts to the next level with a better understanding of metrics and the newest trends.  Join us the evening before the Symposium for a “Conversation with Colleagues” from 5 – 6 pm followed by a Networking Social Cocktail Hour from 6 – 8 pm.  Both the Symposium Friday and the social events on Thursday evening will be held at the Shippensburg University Conference Center. Snacks at the social hour, and Friday’s breakfast and lunch is included in your registration cost. $125 for PenSPRA members and $150 for non-members. Learn more about our speakers and topics and register today at this link:

The Network for Public Education 3rd Annual National Conference April 16-17, 2016 Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Network for Public Education is thrilled to announce the location for our 3rd Annual National Conference. On April 16 and 17, 2016 public education advocates from across the country will gather in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We chose Raleigh to highlight the tremendous activist movement that is flourishing in North Carolina. No one exemplifies that movement better than the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who will be the conference keynote speaker. Rev. Barber is the current president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the National NAACP chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee, and the founder of Moral Mondays.

2016 PA Educational Leadership Summit July 24-26 State College
Summit Sponsors: PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators - PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 
The 2016 Educational Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by four leading Pennsylvania education associations, provides an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together at a quality venue in "Happy Valley." 
Featuring Grant Lichtman, author of EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera (invited), and Dana Lightman, author of POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have... Create the Success You Want, keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics and district team planning and job alike sessions provides practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit before returning back to your district.   Register and pay by April 30, 2016 for the discounted "early bird" registration rate:

Interested in letting our elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax, property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf, (717) 787-2500

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377

Sunday, February 7, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup February 7, 2016: Pennsylvania #pabudget impasse undermining local schools; "holding the line" in Harrisburg paves the way for local tax increases

Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 3850 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, 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 and LinkedIn

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

Keystone State Education Coalition
PA Ed Policy Roundup February 7, 2016:
Pennsylvania #pabudget impasse undermining local schools; "holding the line" in Harrisburg paves the way for local tax increases



RSVP Today for One of EPLC’s Education Policy Forum Series on Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 State Budget Proposal
Thursday, February 11, 2016 – Harrisburg
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - Philadelphia
Thursday, February 25, 2016 - Pittsburgh



“Another problem is that Pennsylvania has always had a very partisan legislature. No matter what party the governor is, it’s always difficult to reach an agreement,” said Cowell, who decided in 1998 not to seek reelection to the Allegheny County House district he represented for 24 years as a Democrat.  “But now the state government is also suffering from an ideological divide, even among the legislative leaders, particularly in the House, which is crippling the legislature’s ability to get things done,” he said.  “It used to be that when the governor and legislative leaders reached an agreement, it was understood that the leaders would go and get the votes to make it happen,” said Cowell."
Pennsylvania impasse undermining local schools
By Evan Brandt, The Mercury POSTED: 02/06/16, 4:47 PM EST
When Gov. Tom Wolf presents the second budget of his term to the General Assembly on Tuesday, it’s a safe bet he will do so without having a budget for the current year in place.
The state budget for 2015-16 will be 244 days late — a state record.  As a result, school districts have no clue how much money they will receive in state aid for a year now more than halfway completed. Despite that failure, state law requires that they begin planning now for the next fiscal year.   “There is definitely a lot more frustration and uncertainty,” said Hannah Barrick, director of advocacy for the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.  “School budgeting in PA is not aligned well with the state budget process,” Barrick said, pointing to Act 1, the 2006 law that requires school budgeting to be done in time for a possible primary election vote.  “There’s always a lot of guesswork, a lot of looking into a crystal ball,” said Barrick. “This year, it’s just that much worse.”

"As of late last week, more than half of the school districts in Pennsylvania – 265 of the 501 – approved preliminary budgets that allow them to increase property taxes to the allowable index. Of the 265, 170 submitted spending plans that ask the Pennsylvania Department of Education for permission to raise taxes above the index, according to data from the department."
School districts pave the way for tax increases
Observer Reporter By Karen Zapf February 6, 2016
School district officials need more than mathematical expertise this year to put the pieces of their 2016-17 budgets in place.  “There’s a little bit of art to it in addition to the science,” Trinity Area School District business manager David Roussos said last week.  Many school districts across the state, including some in Washington and Greene counties, worked throughout January to prepare preliminary budgets for the 2016-17 school year minus a pivotal document that annually helps them estimate future revenue and expenditures – a state budget for the 2015-16 school year.   “This (lack of a state budget for seven months) is an unprecedented situation,” said Pennsylvania School Boards Association spokesman Steve Robinson. “It is a challenge for them.”
Given the uncertainty of state funding, many school districts approved preliminary budgets that give them flexibility going forward

Wolf to float new budget plan amid fight over current one
AP State Wire By MARC LEVY February 6, 2016
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Tom Wolf is scheduled to release his 2016-17 budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. After an unresolved fight with the Republican-controlled Legislature, the Democrat is the first governor in modern Pennsylvania history to come to this point with substantial portions of the budget for the current fiscal year still in limbo. Wolf has made some revelations about what he will propose Tuesday, and here is a look at what is unfinished and what may be a part of his budget package.

With Pennsylvania at a Crossroads, Governor Wolf Announces Proposed Early Education Investment
Governor Wolf's website February 04, 2016
Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today joined Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera to announce the proposed early education funding levels for the 2016-17 budget. Pennsylvania stands at a crossroads, and Governor Wolf is proposing a clear path for a promising future in the commonwealth. The governor’s proposal includes a $60 million increase in high-quality early childhood education. This funding increase builds upon a $60 million investment in 2015-16 to enroll about 14,000 additional children in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.  “We have a choice in Pennsylvania. We must choose a path that funds our schools, eliminates our deficit, and puts Pennsylvania back on track,” said Governor Wolf. “I believe that Pennsylvania should be among the many states that provide universal pre-kindergarten for children and I will work to make this a reality.”

Wolf calls for an ‘honest budget,’ tax increase
By Kate Giammarise and Karen Langley / Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau February 7, 2016 12:00 AM
HARRISBURG — Eleven weary months later, Gov. Tom Wolf is about to deliver a second budget proposal that he says will narrowly focus on boosting school funding while raising taxes to pay for automatic cost increases.  “There are no other issues,” Mr. Wolf said last week during an interview with the Post-Gazette. “We need to have an honest budget, that is funded with recurring revenue, and we need to have investment in education.”  Mr. Wolf said his spending proposal for the year beginning July 1 will total about $32 billion, including automatic increases in pension payments and other areas, and that balancing the budget will require raising the sales or personal income taxes or some combination of the two. The state’s Independent Fiscal Office projects a structural deficit of approximately $1.9 billion for the upcoming fiscal year.  “In the ’15-’16 budget compromise, I agreed to a sales tax increase,” Mr. Wolf said, referring to a framework agreement that ultimately failed to become law. “I would agree to a personal income tax. So I’m indifferent. Either one.”  When he strides into the House chamber on Tuesday, Mr. Wolf will be in the unusual position of proposing a budget for next year while the budget for the current year -— already seven months done -— remains incomplete.

State Rep. Mike Turzai: Gov. Wolf’s spending plans sap too much money from your pocket
Times Leader by State Rep. Mike Turzai - Contributing columnist First Posted: 11:00 am - February 6th, 2016
Three fiscally responsible budgets for 2015-16 were placed on the governor’s desk, none requiring increases in personal income tax or sales tax.  Each budget funded public education at record levels. Further, each fully funded every core state government function including human services and corrections.  Conversely, Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal in March called for $13 billion increases on the backs of Pennsylvania families and businesses in only the first two years. He demanded taking an additional 21 percent more from your pockets in personal income tax, along with 10 percent more in sales tax while calling for an expansion of its base to include daycare, senior care, financial and legal services and many others.  In attempting to do so, Wolf brought back “walking around money” (WAMs) and other discretionary spending eliminated by the Legislature in 2011-12 as enticements to support his increased spending plans. It’s little wonder why InsideGov.com concluded Wolf was the most liberal governor in the nation.
Wolf’s bottom line: Increase taxes without setting forth any accountability on spending. It’s an approach that assumes he knows how to spend your hard-earned money better than you do and that bigger government is the vehicle by which to do so.  The majority of the Legislature thinks otherwise. More of your money belongs in your pocket.

"The delivery of a state budget will be 244 days late on Tuesday when Wolf goes before the General Assembly to give the second budget address of his term. There is talk that it would make more sense to have one budget — an 18-month document that starts now and sails into the next budget year July 1 without the usual fireworks of deadline negotiations.  That plan would let Wolf and the Legislature off the hook: They would only need to reach one agreement and could enjoy their summer vacation without the uncertainty of last-minute sessions.  But the entities that remain on the hook, and increasingly stressed in the current atmosphere, are local schools."
Editorial: Pa. budget impasse turns a corner toward next year
Delco Times POSTED: 02/07/16, 5:25 AM EST | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO
The dance betseen Gov. Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania legislators to adopt a state budget started last year as spring turned to summer.  By the dog days of August, it became an urgent plea to get a budget passed before school started in the fall.  Fall came and went, and by Christmas, the message was a clear and bitter scolding: The failure to agree on a state budget was hurting social services and threatening to close schools.  In early winter, Wolf freed up some money to keep schools open and agencies funded, but a budget agreement establishing state expenditures and revenue projections was not reached.  Now, in the winter of our discontent, having survived 2 feet of snow, local school officials are facing a new dilemma.  How do they plan a budget for 2016-17, when they’re still waiting to see what the state is providing in 2015-16?

On Pa. budget: 'Declare victory' and go home
WHYY Newsworks COMMENTARY  BY MARC STIER FEBRUARY 5, 2016 ESSAYWORKS
Marc Stier is the director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.
In 1966, Senator George Aiken returned from a trip from Vietnam with the recommendation that the United States "declare victory and bring the troops home." It wasn't entirely clear that the U.S. had won the war at that point, but we also hadn't yet lost the war (as we would after another eight years of suffering and death).  It's a very different context, but I'm inclined to give the General Assembly similar advice: Finish the work on the bipartisan budget, declare victory, and go home.  Last year, an appropriations bill that implements the bipartisan budget framework, SB1073, passed the Senate by an overwhelming vote of 43-7. It was one roll call vote short of passing the House in December, having already been approved by a narrow, yet bipartisan, majority on second reading. The General Assembly should return to that bipartisan approach now and then enact the taxes we need to fund the budget.  Not everyone will be happy. But that's what happens when politicians make a deal. At the very least, the General Assembly would be spared any further ignominy for its inability to carry out one of the most basic functions of state government enacting a balanced budget.

Editorial: Lawmakers dreaming
Inquirer Editorial Updated: FEBRUARY 5, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
Harrisburg politicians seem trapped in a dream world where Pennsylvania doesn't have a deficit and the public is so in love with them that they can take their time reaching a budget agreement.  In reality, the legislature has an abysmal 15 percent approval rating in a new Franklin and Marshall College poll, and Gov. Wolf isn't that much better at 33 percent. With a record seven-month budget impasse, it's no wonder that 67 percent of voters think the state is off the rails and that its biggest problem is its government.  The politicians' intransigence has forced schools to borrow $1 billion to pay their bills through the stalemate. The loans have cost $50 million in interest so far, says Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. "The longer you go [without a budget], the more expensive the deal is going to get," he said. Schools will have to borrow again in March, or sooner, when money runs out from the state's stopgap budget.

Bracing for the budget: Pennsylvanians wonder if we're headed for Wolf War II?
Penn Live By Charles Thompson | cthompson@pennlive.com Email the author | Follow on Twitter on February 05, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated February 05, 2016 at 7:14 AM
A recent Franklin & Marshall College poll carried what might be alarming news for Pennsylvania's elected officials at the start of an election year.  Respondents, battered by scandal and unending budget gridlock, said by more than a 3:1 ratio that the state is headed in the wrong direction.  Thirty-eight percent, more than twice as large as any other issue's bloc, cited government and politicians as the state's most important problem.  But at the state Capitol this week, it felt more like "morning in Pennsylvania," as Gov. Tom Wolf and other top state officials talked about their state-of-readiness for the delivery of a new state budget.  Wolf is scheduled to unveil his new plan on Feb. 9, even though work on the 2015-16 budget still isn't finished.

Editorial: Republicans have played havoc with state economy
Philly Daily news Editorial Updated: FEBRUARY 5, 2016 — 3:01 AM EST
Daily News editorial: The Republican wrecking crew in control of the Legislature has stopped government in its tracks, which is fine with them, as long as there are no new taxes.
GOV. WOLF was in Philadelphia on Thursday to tout his plan to provide an additional $200 million in subsidies to basic education, plus another $60 million in state money for pre-K for all children - a goal he shares with Mayor Kenney.  Of course, we all know the problem with using these numbers. There is no guarantee the state Legislature will approve any of this new spending. In fact, the odds are against it.  Forget about next year. The Legislature failed to approve the governor's call for an extra $360 million in additional funds for basic education this year. It has also failed to pass a state budget for the current year.  Wolf will be in the odd position next Tuesday of proposing his budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, without a budget approved for this year.  It's popular to portray this as squabbling between a liberal governor and an increasingly conservative Republican majority.  But, it's not the same old-same old partisan comedy. Increasingly, it is becoming a tragedy - with local governments and school districts as victims. The state is operating under a stopgap budget that funds government operations for part of the year.  Just like last fall, the money will start to run out in the spring. Just like last fall, school districts and local governments will have to scramble to get money to fund education and social services. The only difference is, the governments and districts have spent whatever reserves they had and have borrowed to the limit. The well is dry.  This is all due to the Republican wrecking crew in control of the Legislature. They have stopped government in its tracks, which is fine with them, as long as there are no new taxes.

"In 2013-14, when the school had 750 students, Ed Plus received $7.2 million in taxpayer funds. As is the case for all cybers in the state, it did not meet the state's academic benchmarks. It scored a 50 on the Pennsylvania School Performance Profile; a 70 is the threshold for satisfactory performance."
Why a cyber charter had to close its doors
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, Staff Writer. Updated: FEBRUARY 7, 2016 — 7:40 AM EST
When Education Plus Academy Cyber Charter closed in December, its officials laid blame at two places: districts that couldn't pay for students because of the state budget crisis, and a bank's decision to pull the charter school's line of credit.  But documents Ed Plus filed in federal bankruptcy court show that the Main Line cyber, which got into trouble for operating more like a regular school than an online one, was crippled by much bigger financial problems.  Former staffers say that the school that focused on students with learning disabilities was in turmoil for months and that the bankruptcy stemmed from questionable management decisions.

"Most significant for the district, the arbitrator's decision would mean that the school system must honor its collective bargaining agreement and ensure one full-time counselor at every school. Several dozen schools have only part-time counselors."
Judge to Phila. schools: Hire back counselors
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer. Updated: FEBRUARY 6, 2016 — 1:07 AM EST
Dozens of Philadelphia public schools could get full-time counselors, and more than a dozen Philadelphia school counselors could get their jobs back, if a judge's order stands.  Common Pleas Court Judge Linda Carpenter on Friday denied the Philadelphia School District's request for stay of an independent arbitrator's order.  In 2015, arbitrator Ralph H. Colflesh Jr. handed the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers a significant victory, ruling that the school system was wrong to bypass seniority in recalling laid-off employees, and that it was in violation of its contract by failing to have one full-time counselor at every school.  Colflesh ordered the district to rehire counselors who were laid off in a 2013 budget crunch and never rehired. That June, the district laid off every counselor, later recalling some, and not in order of seniority.  Nearly three years later, more than a dozen remain laid off, according to PFT lawyers.  Part of the arbitrator's order would have given the laid-off counselors back pay, but the PFT did not ask for that part of the award to be immediately enforced because of the district's ongoing budget crisis.

"America's school systems are more diverse than ever — buoyed by growth among Hispanics in recent decades — but data show they are more segregated than at any time since Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 Supreme Court decision intended to eradicate segregation in public schools."
Segregation in Pittsburgh-area schools an enduring issue
Trib Live BY NATASHA LINDSTROM  | Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, 10:40 p.m.
He didn't think much about it then, but Wyatt Schueler rarely saw a person who was not white during the eight years he attended Catholic school in Pittsburgh's North Hills.  He reluctantly entered the public school system in ninth grade because his parents could not afford Central Catholic High's $10,000 annual price tag — probably not for him, and definitely not for him and three younger brothers.  Initially, Schueler, who is white, found the diverse student makeup of City Charter High School in downtown Pittsburgh to be striking and a bit intimidating. Nearly four years later, just a few months from graduation, the varied blend of races and backgrounds is one of the 17-year-old's favorite things about his school.  “You have to deal with diversity, because in the real world you don't get to choose who you work with,” he said. “Here, they teach you how to work together in a group, in pairs, how to overcome differences and adapt to people from every neighborhood in the city.”  City Charter is a relatively racially integrated school; slightly less than half of the roughly 600 students in 2013-14 were black, 41 percent were white and 4 percent were Hispanic or Asian, state data show.  That's not the case across most of Western Pennsylvania.

Schools, teachers attempt to tackle achievement gap in Western Pennsylvania
Trib Live BY NATASHA LINDSTROM  | Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, 10:40 p.m.
Western Pennsylvania's school administrators and teachers are working to improve outcomes for all students in schools that are becoming segregated by race and income. Black students are disproportionately represented in poor, urban areas, and white students dominant in suburbs.  “We can't change anybody's race,” City Charter High School CEO and Principal Ron Sofo said. “We need to create more culturally responsive learning environments that are inclusive of all of our students.”  Black students lag behind their white peers on several metrics gauging their likelihood of success. Blacks demonstrate higher rates of absenteeism, suspensions and dropouts, and lower rates of enrolling in advanced or honors courses, going on to post-secondary education and finding family-sustaining jobs.  Mark Brentley, a former Pittsburgh school director, worries that racial disparity in schools contributes to a “permanent underclass” for blacks.

LNP Editorial: Manheim Township school board president and district solicitor must resign
Lancaster Online by The LNP Editorial Board February 6, 2016
THE ISSUE: A leaked audio recording of a Manheim Township school board closed-door meeting  held Jan. 28 revealed the board was conspiring to circumvent the Sunshine Act as it embarked on a search for a new superintendent. During that meeting, board President Bill Murry arranged a series of one-on-one conversations with board members to discuss which search firm they would engage to seek a superintendent to replace John Nodecker, who officially resigned Jan. 29, just 18 months into his four-year contract. Murry intended for the board to choose a search firm in advance of a special public meeting Thursday evening, at which time the board members would ratify their choice without discussion. After LNP reported Thursday on the leaked audio recording, Manheim Township residents turned up in droves to the board’s meeting that evening.  Thursday evening, the Manheim Township school board got the dressing down it deserved.  Residents, many of them parents with children in district schools, called the board’s clandestine efforts to bypass the Sunshine Act “deplorable,” “reprehensible,”  “deeply troubling,” “embarrassing.”
The board members’ transgressions were all of the above, but we’ll give them this: They took their punishment. And several admitted to being embarrassed and apologized.

Carbon, Schuylkill County program awarded grant
Morning Call January 31, 2016
Congressman Lou Barletta, R-11th, state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne/Carbon, and Lehigh Carbon Community College President Ann Bieber recently announced a major federal grant for the Carbon and Schuylkill County SHINE (schools and homes in education) after-school program. The grant totals nearly $400,000 for each of the next three years.  The federal funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education via the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant program. The SHINE grant is one of 50 new 21st CCLC grant awards totaling $16.1 million for 2015-18 in Pennsylvania.
The 21st CCLC program is designed to provide federal funding for the establishment of community learning centers that provide academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities for children. Funds are intended to provide students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools with additional services to meet state and local standards in core academic subjects; to offer students a broad array of activities that can complement their regular academic programs, and to offer literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.
SHINE is administered by Lehigh Carbon Community College and provides academic support for nearly 500 students from seven school districts. The comprehensive 42-week after school/summer program includes kindergarten home visits, first to fourth grade STEM Centers, fifth to eighth grade STEM Career Academies, and high school career awareness/mentoring opportunities.

Top 25 Pennsylvania high schools with highest SAT scores
Masterman High School leads list; suburban Philly schools account for most of the highest tier
BY JON TULEYA PhillyVoice Staff February 5, 2016
The Pennsylvania Department of Education this week released data for the average SAT scores at every public high school in the state.  Scores were recorded for 650 high schools. Another 23 schools were listed but did not include data.  The complete report – including each school's average reading, math and writing scores – can be downloaded from the Department of Education's website.  On each of those three tests, students score between 200 and 800 points, for a maximum total score of 2400.
Here are the Top 25 schools in the state:

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 2-7-16


PSBA Members Budget Update Webinar
FEB 12, 2016 • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Join PSBA Assistant Executive Director of Public Policy John Callahan as he hosts PA Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera to discuss the proposed 2016-17 state budget. Participants will learn about issues impacting public education related to the budget impasse and the recent release of emergency funding to school districts during this live, complimentary members-only webinar.
PLEASE NOTE: Registration is only open to PSBA members. All registrations must be manually verified before links are sent so please allow for a delay in receiving this information. We cannot guarantee receipt of this information in time if registering less than one hour before the presentation starts at noon on Feb. 12.

Public Interest Law Center: Discipline, Truancy and More
Philadelphia, PA Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
This seminar is designed to address disciplinary issues. The presentation will include disciplinary rights of students not yet identified for special education services or 504 plans; the disciplinary rights of students with IEPs and 504 plans, and an advocate’s view of assisting families with truancy issues.  Tickets range from $50 (webinar) to $200 (private attorneys), and there is a "Pay What You Can Option" so that no one is turned away from this important program. 
CLE credit is available for attorneys licensed in Pennsylvania that attend the seminar in person.
Questions? Contact Michael at mberton@pilcop.org or call 267.546.1303.

PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Southeastern Region Forum Series"Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Networking and Coffee - 9:30 a.m. Program - 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Penn Center for Educational Leadership (5th Floor)
University of Pennsylvania - 3440 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Donna Cooper, Executive Director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth
Deborah Gordon Klehr, Executive Director, Education Law Center
Dr. George Steinhoff, Superintendent, Penn Delco School District
One or more representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
RSVP for Southeastern Forum on-line at

EPLC PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM
"Capital Region Forum Series" Thursday, February 11, 2016
Continental Breakfast - 8:00 a.m. Program - 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Harrisburg Hilton Hotel - Two North Second Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
SUBJECT: Governor Wolf's Proposed Education Budget for 2016-2017
SPEAKERS:
An Overview of the Proposed 2016-2017 State Budget and Education Issues Will Be Provided By:
Representative of The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
Ron Cowell, President, The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Statewide and Regional Perspectives Will Be Provided By:
Dr. Brian Barnhart, Executive Director, Lancaster-Lebanon IU #13
Thomas Gluck, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units
Representatives of other statewide and regional organizations are still to be confirmed.
While there is no registration fee, seating is limited and an RSVP is required.
RSVP for Harrisburg Forum on-line at 

PSBA New School Director Training Remaining Locations:
  • North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield
PSBA New School Director Training
School boards who will welcome new directors after the election should plan to attend PSBA training to help everyone feel more confident right from the start. This one-day event is targeted to help members learn the basics of their new roles and responsibilities. Meet the friendly, knowledgeable PSBA team and bring everyone on your “team of 10” to get on the same page fast.
  • $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN PassNote: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
  • One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
  • Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
  • Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class

Save the Dates for These 2016 Annual EPLC Regional State Budget Education Policy Forums
Sponsored by The Education Policy and Leadership Center
Thursday, February 11 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Harrisburg
Wednesday, February 17 - 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania)
Thursday, February 25 - 8:30-11:00 a.m. - Pittsburgh
Invitation and more details in January

Attend the United Opt Out Conference in Philadelphia February 26-28
United Opt Out: The Movement to End Corporate Reform will hold its annual conference on Philadelphia from February 26-28.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center will host its Annual Budget Summit on Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:00 - 3:30 at the Hilton Harrisburg.
PA Budget and Policy Center website
Join us for an in-depth look at the Governor's 2016-17 budget proposal, including what it means for education, health and human services, and local communities. The Summit will focus on the leading issues facing the commonwealth in 2016, with workshops, lunch, and a legislative panel discussion.  Space is limited, so fill out the form below to reserve your spot at the Budget Summit.
Thursday, March 3, 2016 Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg Pennsylvania
The event is free, but PBPC welcomes donations of any size to help off-set costs.

PASBO 61st Annual Conference and Exhibits March 8 - 11, 2016
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania

PenSPRA's Annual Symposium, Friday April 8th in Shippensburg, PA
PenSPRA, or the Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association, has developed a powerhouse line-up of speakers and topics for a captivating day of professional development in Shippensburg on April 8th. Learn to master data to defeat your critics, use stories to clarify your district's brand and take your social media efforts to the next level with a better understanding of metrics and the newest trends.  Join us the evening before the Symposium for a “Conversation with Colleagues” from 5 – 6 pm followed by a Networking Social Cocktail Hour from 6 – 8 pm.  Both the Symposium Friday and the social events on Thursday evening will be held at the Shippensburg University Conference Center. Snacks at the social hour, and Friday’s breakfast and lunch is included in your registration cost. $125 for PenSPRA members and $150 for non-members. Learn more about our speakers and topics and register today at this link:

The Network for Public Education 3rd Annual National Conference April 16-17, 2016 Raleigh, North Carolina.
The Network for Public Education is thrilled to announce the location for our 3rd Annual National Conference. On April 16 and 17, 2016 public education advocates from across the country will gather in Raleigh, North Carolina.  We chose Raleigh to highlight the tremendous activist movement that is flourishing in North Carolina. No one exemplifies that movement better than the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, who will be the conference keynote speaker. Rev. Barber is the current president of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, the National NAACP chair of the Legislative Political Action Committee, and the founder of Moral Mondays.

2016 PA Educational Leadership Summit July 24-26 State College
Summit Sponsors: PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators - PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 
The 2016 Educational Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by four leading Pennsylvania education associations, provides an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together at a quality venue in "Happy Valley." 
Featuring Grant Lichtman, author of EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera (invited), and Dana Lightman, author of POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have... Create the Success You Want, keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics and district team planning and job alike sessions provides practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit before returning back to your district.   Register and pay by April 30, 2016 for the discounted "early bird" registration rate:

Interested in letting our elected leadership know your thoughts on education funding, a severance tax, property taxes and the budget?
Governor Tom Wolf, (717) 787-2500

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Turzai, (717) 772-9943
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377