Press Releases

Thursday, June 8, 2017 9:59 AM

The bleak picture painted by a recent statewide survey on the 2017-18 school district budget outlook looks a lot like ones produced from the same survey done in the past few years.
PennLive.com, June 7, 2017
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Thursday, June 8, 2017 9:58 AM

It’s budget crunch time in the Pennsylvania Capitol, and the state treasurer and auditor general ratcheted up the normal yearly pressure Wednesday with a warning: The state’s strapped.
Philadelphia Inquirer, June 8, 2017
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 11:59 AM

As Pennsylvania’s school districts prepare to approve final budgets for the 2017-18 school year, many have confronted the need to raise taxes and make cuts to personnel or programs “just to keep their heads above water,” according to a report released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators and Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.
Beaver County Times, June 6, 2017
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 11:58 AM

A telecom technician by trade, Schuylkill County homeowner Ron Boltz is not your typical suit-and-tie Harrisburg lobbyist. He's a self-taught policy wonk burning endless vacation days in an effort to convince lawmakers to abandon nearly 200 years of history and reimagine the state's tax structure and school finance scheme.
WITF Keystone Crossroads, June 7, 2017
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 10:03 AM
The PA Principals Association is holding its second annual Principal Advocacy Day at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 19, 2017 at The Capitol in Harrisburg, PA. Once again, a rally in support of public education and important education issues will be held on the Main Rotunda Steps from 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.
 
To register, send an email to Dr. Joseph Clapper at clapper@paprincipals.org before Friday, June 9, 2017.

Click here to view the Principal Advocacy Day Save The Date Flyer.
 

If you do not know your legislator/s, click on the link below:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:29 AM

A Senate panel voted Sunday night to change pension benefits for all new school employees and most state workers after 2018.

The state Senate voted today on a bill to drastically change retirement benefits for most state employees and all school employees hired after 2018.  The 40-9 vote came a day after the Senate convened for a rare Sunday night session to begin moving the bill, which seeks to reduce the long-term risk associated with taxpayers bailing out the state’s two debt-ridden pension plans in bad economic times.  The Republican-controlled Senate's vote moves the bill to the GOP-controlled House, where it is expected to also be approved and sent to Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's desk for his signature.  The bill would move affected workers from a fully backed taxpayer-funded pension plan in which retirements benefits are guaranteed regardless of Wall Street performance to a so-called hybrid plan. That hybrid would keep about half of workers’ pensions in the taxpayer-backed guaranteed plan. The other half would go into a corporate-style 401(k) plan that goes up and down with the market, reducing taxpayer exposure by more than 50 percent.  New workers could also elect to have all retirement benefits placed into a 401(k) instead of one of two hybrids.  “This is the largest risk transfer in a public pension system of our size in the nation’s history,” Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Sunday night.  The hybrids would also reduce retirement benefits by 18 percent for new school employees and by 16 percent for most new state workers compared to current employees hired after 2010.

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Source: Steve Esack Contact Reporter Morning Call Harrisburg Bureau June 4, 2017.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:23 AM

The Republican-controlled legislature is racing to send Gov. Wolf a long-sought bill by week’s end that would overhaul retirement benefits in Pennsylvania’s two debt-riddled public pension plans. The Senate approved the bill Monday in a 40-9 vote, and the House is expected to vote by Thursday on the measure, which seeks to shift some, if not all, benefits for future state and public schools employees into 401(k)-style plans. The goal is to create pension plans that cost less state money and do not hold taxpayers entirely liable for backing them, regardless of how the markets perform.  A spokesman for House GOP legislative leaders said there are enough votes in the chamber to pass it. Wolf, a Democrat, has said he supports the legislation.  On the surface, it looks like a deal, but no one is calling it done.  Less than two years ago, a pension-reform effort imploded at the eleventh hour, prolonging the budget impasse in Wolf’s first year in office.

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Source: Inquirer by Angela Couloumbis, Harrisburg Bureau @AngelasInk acouloumbis@phillynews.com Updated: JUNE 5, 2017 — 6:40 PM EDT.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:21 AM

But the numbers that appear to matter are the votes legislative leaders expect it will get in the General Assembly.

HARRISBURG (June 4) – During a rare Sunday evening session of the state Senate, a pension bill that doesn’t appear to save any money for or shift much risk from taxpayers was positioned for a final Senate vote on Monday.  The Senate Appropriations Committee, on a near party-line vote, adopted two amendments to the bill, the original version of which was nearly identical to the bill reported from a conference committee late last session that failed to get voted by either chamber of the General Assembly.  Proponents of the new bill, Senate Bill 1, say this time around, the measure will win approval in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, which during the last four or five years, has been the more difficult chamber of the two in which to find enough votes for a pension bill.  “To get a bill that can be passed by the Senate, passed by the House and signed by the governor means compromise,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, following the committee meeting about SB1. “This is far, far better – significantly – and still provides a good benefit. I’m not going to quibble and say this bill save more money than that bill … What I’m going to say is this is what can get two chambers to pass, and the governor to sign, and that’s the most important thing, because the other bills couldn’t, so therefore they don’t save anything.”

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Source: Capitolwire: PSBA Website POSTED ON JUN 5, 2017 By Chris Comisac, Capitolwire Bureau Chief.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:19 AM

One of the oddities of this week's public employee pensions debate is how so many of the state's major public sector unions are sitting it out.  They have, after all, reliably opposed most pension reform measures since passage of Act 120 in 2010. Until now, the combined forces of their Democratic and Republican allies in the state House have been just enough to stop other bills in their tracks.  This time?  No pitchforks. Just crickets.  And that, so far at least, is giving more labor-sensitive Republicans and some Democrats license to support the current bill, which passed the state Senate on a 40-9 vote Monday afternoon.  Later Monday, the bail passed a preliminary vote in the House State Government Committee, keeping on course for a final passage vote in that chamber on Thursday.  Major public-sector unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Service Employees International Union (both state workers) and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (school teachers), have all agreed to stand silent on this bill.  Only one major union is singing in a different key - the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which sent a letter opposing the bill to lawmakers last Friday.  There appear to be two major reasons for this mass stand-down by organized labor, according to sources familiar with the discussions:

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Source: Penn Live BY CHARLES THOMPSON  cthompson@pennlive.com Updated on June 5, 2017 at 9:19 PM Posted on June 5, 2017 at 5:54 PM.

 
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:13 AM

The Democratic Wolf administration and Republican legislative leaders have overcome deep partisan division with an agreement to do ... well, not much.  Senators conducted a rare Sunday session to advance a supposed pension reform bill that does nothing to reduce the vast amounts of money that the state’s two big and vastly underfunded pension systems will suck out of the state and school district budgets for the next three decades.  After months of secret negotiations among the Republican House and Senate majorities and the Democratic administration, the key question that emerged is: What took so long?  The bill cannot be construed as true reform. The state and school districts will continue to shake down taxpayers to cover the unfunded pension liability at the same rate as now, while shifting any change well into the future, onto people who have not yet been hired by schools or the state government.

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Source: Times Tribune BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: JUNE 6, 2017.

 
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P.O. Box 39, 122 Valley Road, Summerdale, PA 17093 Phone: (717) 732-4999 Fax: (717) 732-4890
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