Press Releases

Friday, April 1, 2016 8:37 AM

School leaders in Pennsylvania waited almost nine months for a state budget. Now a $30 billion spending plan is in place, but they are still waiting.
Click here for full article.
Source: LancasterOnline, March 30, 2016.

 
Friday, April 1, 2016 8:24 AM

There was a collective sigh of relief and some celebration last week when Gov. Tom Wolf let what's left of the 2015-16 state budget lapse into law without his signature

The impending crisis for schools and other social service agencies has passed for the moment, but there is no time for prolonged jubilation as we are less than 100 days away from the June 30 deadline for the 2016-17 state budget, and there couldn't be more to do.

Click here for full article.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 12:51 PM

From Matthew Stem, Deputy Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education: As we approach the PSSA and spring Keystone testing windows, I'd like to offer a reminder to all LEAs concerning participation in our state assessments.  The United States Department of Education (ED) continues to call for  participation by all students; however, in recognition of special circumstances, ED provides some flexibility for five percent non-participation.  This five percent flexibility is important to Pennsylvania, as Chapter 4 regulations allow parents/guardians to have their children excused from testing due to a conflict with religious beliefs.  Though Pennsylvania regulation allows this excusal, ED does not recognize this as an allowable reason for non-participation, and students who do not participate due to the allowance in Chapter 4 will have a negative impact on an LEA's/school's participation rate.  ED believes the five percent flexibility it provides will account for any parents/guardians who choose to exercise this option.  The provision in Chapter 4 specifically says,

§ 4.4. General policies.

                    (d)  School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:

                            (4)  The right to review a State assessment in the school entity during convenient hours for parents and guardians, at least 2 weeks prior to their administration, to determine whether a State assessment conflicts  with their religious belief. To protect the validity and integrity of the State assessments, each school entity shall have in place procedures to be followed when parents or guardians request to view any State assessment. Procedures must be consistent with guidance provided by the Department in its assessment administration instructions. If upon inspection of a State assessment parents or guardians find the assessment to be in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request that states the objection to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.

Parents/guardians are not to be denied their right to have their children excused if they follow proper protocol.  Parents/guardians must sign a confidentiality agreement form prior to reviewing the assessment.  After reviewing the assessment, parents/guardians must state in writing to the superintendent, CEO, or AVTS director that they wish to have their child(ren) excused from the assessment due to a conflict with religious belief.  The specific conflict does not need to be stated; simply that it is a conflict with religious belief.

LEAs and schools are encouraged to seek 100 percent participation in the assessments, but please be reminded of parents'/guardians' rights under Chapter 4.

 

 

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:39 AM

So what do we mean when we say "Kicking the can down the road"? In the latest chapter of Pennsylvania's ongoing impasse over the state budget, the legislature was doing the kicking – sending a more-or-less balanced budget to the governor's desk earlier this month.
Click here for full article.  
Source: PennLive.com, March 27, 2016.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 10:38 AM

John B. King Jr. talks about his priorities for a tenure that may be short-lived: implementing the new education law, high-quality preschool and college access, to name a few.
Click here for full article.  
Source: NPR.org, March 26, 2016.

 
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:32 AM

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding's mission is to ensure that Pennsylvania adopts and maintains an adequate and equitable system of funding public education. CFEF has assembled news stories about the budget crisis in the Commonwealth and other funding issues by region and statewide.

Click here for a map with news by region (and statewide).

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:35 PM
The 2015-16 budget that the Governor is allowing to become law will permit schools that have been pushed to the brink by the budget impasse to remain open and their students to complete this academic year.
But make no mistake: this budget does not solve the state's long-term school funding crisis. The threshold for a successful school funding system should not be whether there is enough money for schools to keep their doors open and the lights on. It is about whether there are sufficient resources so that all students - no matter where they live - can succeed in school and meet the state's academic standards.
The Governor and legislature must immediately turn their attention to the 2016-17 budget. They must work together to enact the fair school funding formula recommended by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission and pass an on-time budget for 2016-17 that makes a significant investment in our public schools next year of at least $400 million and provides adequate revenues to support that investment.
Every school year counts for a student. We cannot allow Pennsylvania's children to endure another school year without solving the state's education funding crisis.
 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:49 PM

In calculating Highlands SD's 2016-17 school budget, Superintendent Michael Bjalobok said district officials have to use their imaginations (Allegheny Co.).
Click here for full article.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 21, 2016.

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:48 PM

Frustrated taxpayers and concerned parents of school children came out to vent Monday at a meeting to address the ongoing state budget impasse.  More than 300 went to the Hanover Area High School auditorium to hear state legislators and local education officials talk about the budget impasse. 

Click here for full article.
Source: Citizens Voice, March 22, 2016.

 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 12:45 PM

At a time when school budgets around Pennsylvania are drying up, the Central Bucks SD (Bucks Co.) has set itself apart in a seemingly financial oasis.

Click here for full article.
Source: The Intelligencer, March 22, 2016.

 
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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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