Press Releases

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 9:55 AM

Click here for blog post. Dr. Bill Ziegler is principal of Pottsgrove High School in Pottsgrove, PA. Follow him on Twitter @drbillziegler.

 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 9:28 AM

After a whirl of activity Tuesday, the Republican majorities of the Pennsylvania House and Senate sent the governor a GOP-crafted budget, along with legislation to disband the state system of wine and liquor sales and end defined-benefit pensions for most future state and public school workers. Shortly after 9 p.m., Gov. Tom Wolf undid their planning on the budget.

 

Click here for the article.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 30, 2015; ; PSBA Daily EDition, July 1, 2015.

 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 9:26 AM

A bill that would make cyber bullying of children a punishable crime is awaiting Gov. Wolf's signature.

Click here for article.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2015; ; PSBA Daily EDition, July 1, 2015.

 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 9:24 AM

Changes to child-protection laws mandating background checks that passed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal may be among the few bills Gov. Wolf signs this budget season.

Click here for the article.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2015 ; PSBA Daily EDition, July 1, 2015.

 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 9:11 AM

A bill to exempt more people who work with children from background checks has passed the Legislature and has been sent to Gov. Tom Wolf.

Click here for the article.

 

Source: LancasterOnline, June 30, 2015; PSBA Daily EDition, July 1, 2015.

 
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 8:21 AM

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding [today] said that the FY2015-16 state budget passed by the General Assembly does not provide the state dollars needed to begin closing the funding gap between the state’s poorest and wealthiest districts, which is the widest disparity of any state in the country. Nor does it appropriate enough to prevent more teacher and other staff layoffs, academic program cuts, and local property tax increases.

Click here for full press release.

Source: Campaing for Fair Education Funding Press Release, June 30, 2015.

 

 
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:51 AM

These next few days are critical in the budget-making process, and one of the most important issues to be decided is funding for basic education. Legislators will be working over the weekend to craft a budget to meet the June 30 deadline, and the decisions made in these hours could impact your school district greatly.

Your help is needed right now to make sure that all of the work done over the past year by the bi-partisan legislative Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) and public school stakeholders to develop a new funding formula is not lost. We need to ensure that every legislator hears from school officials on this issue.

Contact your members of the Senate and House of Representatives and tell them to support the recommendations of the Commission as set under Senate Bill 910 (Sen. Smucker, R-Lancaster) or House Bill 1390 (Rep. Saylor, R- York).

Timing is important! Please take a moment right now to make a phone call, send an email or text message, or use the prepared letter available by clicking on “Take Action” at the top right corner of this alert. When you click on the link, the letter is at the bottom of the web page that appears. After completing the address information required, the letter will automatically be emailed from you to your legislators. Please note: the prepared letter is editable so that you can add information about the impact on your district, if you wish.

What is the new formula?

The new formula will benefit school districts, children and parents by using factors reflecting student and community differences such as poverty, local tax effort and capacity, and rural and small district conditions. The recommendations also maintain hold harmless by distributing new money through the formula using a base year, protecting those affected districts from redistribution of existing funds.

Using the formula with Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget, the administration plans to provide a $410 million increase in 2015-16 for all school districts, and an additional $400 million in 2016-17. It restores cuts to the most at-risk students and levels the field for the poorest districts. The goal is to provide sufficient funding to all school districts.

Click here to read the full report of the BEFC.

 

Advantages of the new formula

* It meets the needs of all school districts, and every district receives an increase.

* It is fair, predictable and transparent. It allows school districts to plan more accurately for each school year’s budget.

* It will help to close the gap between poor and affluent districts, with the poorest 25% of districts receiving 55% of new funds.

* It considers districts with high enrollments of English language learners, districts with growing enrollments, and those rural and small districts with more sparse populations.

* It takes into account several student-based factors, with weights assigned to each category to help determine the degree to which each factor drives up the cost of educating a student.

* It helps school districts by including a weight for charter school enrollment (students attending both brick and mortar, and cyber charters).

* Poverty will no longer be measured using free and reduced lunch poverty indicators. Instead, it will be measured by federal census data by school district and updated annually. Further, factors for poverty will include separate weights for levels of poverty.

* It considers local tax effort and capacity, and district wealth. It replaces aid ratio as a measure of local wealth with a Median Household Income Index using federal census data.

The recommendations follow months of extensive study and talking with a wide-range of experts and advocates in the education field as well as parents, from urban, suburban and rural school districts throughout the state. The lack of a reliable funding formula in Pennsylvania has led the state’s property owners down a road of enduring tax increases. This new formula will ultimately help the taxpayers. This has been a bi-partisan effort, and it deserves to be enacted.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts -- every message sent is important!

Source: PSBA Legislative Alert, June 26, 2015.

 
Tuesday, June 30, 2015 8:53 AM

On Sunday, the House passed a budget that includes an increase in the Basic Education Funding line item of $100 million. There is some dispute that, coupled with other school funding changes in the budget, the increase is actually only $8 million. However, even if the increase was $100 million, it would not be enough.

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding wants legislators to: increase basic education funding by at least $410 million to help restore past funding cuts, targeted at bringing districts back to the 2010 funding level as base year; and begin implementation of the new funding formula as unanimously adopted by the Basic Education Funding Commission.

Click here for a leave behind for legislative visits that explains the Commission’s proposed formula. Click here for a one pager, “Please fix our school funding system.”

 

Click here for a new action message to legislators, it includes a sample Tweet and Facebook post for legislators.

 
Friday, June 26, 2015 9:29 AM

Effective principals are critical in building a culture of high-quality teaching and learning, according to a new paper released [today] by the National Governors Association (NGA).

School principals manage the staff and help build the school community. Their quality affects every aspect of learning, from the strength of the teachers to the health of the school environment. As state leaders continue to raise expectations by implementing college- and career-ready standards and other reforms, governors and state policymakers can make decisions to support developing high-quality principals.

Improving Educational Outcomes: How State Policy Can Support School Principals to Lead Change examines actions governors and state policymakers can take to focus on improving principals’ training, maintaining their ongoing professional development and better evaluating their performance.

“Principals serve as linchpins to our schools’ and communities’ success,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “Governors are well-positioned to ensure their training, development and performance is supported when crafting our education policy agendas.”

Governors and policymakers can employ a variety of strategies to support principals’ and schools’ success, including:

  • Providing guidance and resources for designing and implementing performance-evaluation systems that reflect higher education standards;
  • Preparing and certifying the next generation of principals to enable them to lead schools in which all students can meet the higher standards; and
  • Identifying and tracking key measures of educational performance and making strategic changes when those measurements indicate lagging performance.

To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Education Division, please visit http://www.nga.org/cms/center/edu.

Source: NGA Press Release, June 25, 2015.

 
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 11:54 AM

You are invited to join the next monthly Twitter chat with Pennsylvania’s major education leadership organizations on Tuesday, June 30 at 8 p.m. They will discuss details of the recommendations for a fair, school funding formula made by the General Assembly’sTwitter Chat June Basic Education Funding Commission. Use hashtag #FairFundingPA to participate and follow the conversation.

Click here for more information and how to participate. 

 
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