EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, July 8, 2005

    Pennsylvania State Budget

  • The General Assembly approved the FY 2005-06 State Budget on July 7, one week past the June 30 constitutional deadline for state budget adoption. The $24.3 billion budget increases spending for the basic education subsidy by $131.160 million (3%) and guarantees a minimum 2% increase for all school districts. Also included in the basic education subsidy is supplemental funding for districts with enrollment growth, small district assistance, Limited English Proficient students, and more. Special education funding was boosted by $23.889 million (2.5%). The budget also includes funding for the Governor's Job Ready Pennsylvania initiative which focuses on workforce development and education. Budget highlights include: increases community college funding by 9.1%; expands funding for tutoring programs by $23 million; allocates $5 million to support a new dual enrollment program for high school students; doubles state funding for Head Start to $30 million; and significantly increases funding for teacher professional development.

    The education subsidy budget also re-introduces in Pennsylvania the concept of state support to districts to ensure a "foundation" level of resources per student in every district. The new budget provides for $22.3 million of the basic education subsidy to be distributed among districts that currently spend less than $8,500 per student. This is an important initiative, but the very modest funding allocation will leave a very large percentage of districts far below the $8,500 spending level this year. However, the Rendell Administration strives to reach the goal of ensuring educational resources of at least $8,500 per student in every district over some longer period of time. Realistically, an additional annual state appropriation of many hundreds of millions of dollars directed at the state's poorer school districts is required if the Governor's goal is to be accomplished. The foundation guarantee approach to education funding was reflected for two years in state budgets in 1993 and 1994, and in those two years drove additional funding to the very poorest of Pennsylvania's school districts. That initiative was abandoned during the Administration of Governor Tom Ridge. The foundation guarantee approach is used in many states throughout the nation in efforts to promote educational funding equity and adequacy, two funding principles long-ignored in Pennsylvania.

    For more information on the basic education subsidy and other education appropriations, see the PA Department of Education's web site at: www.pde.state.pa.us/pde_internet/site/default.asp.

  • FY 2005-06 Education Appropriations Enacted in House Bill 815
    (items in bold represent funding increases, items in italics represent funding decreases, items in standard font represent flat funding)

    PDE General Government Operations: $24.474 million (3.77% decrease)
    Safe Schools: $1.000 million (flat funded)
    Information and Technology Improvement: $5.144 million (2% decrease)
    PA Assessment: $20.356 million (flat funded)
    State Library: $4.336 million (3.83% increase)
    Youth Development Centers: $11.900 million (2.25% increase)
    Scranton State School for the Deaf: $6.565 million (5.01% increase)

    Support of Public Schools:
    Basic Education Subsidy: $4.492 billion (3.01% increase)
    Dual Enrollment Payments: $5.000 million (NEW INITIATIVE)
    Philadelphia School District: $25.000 million (flat funded)
    School Improvement Grants: $21.073 million (1% decrease)
    Education Support Services: $4.000 million (55.56% decrease)
    Education Assistance Program: $66.000 million (73.68% increase)
    PA Accountability Grants: $200.000 million (flat funded)
    Technology Initiative: $1.290 million (flat funded)
    Head Start Supplemental Assistance: $30.000 million (100% increase)
    Science & Math Education Program: $2.175 million (1.14% decrease)
    Teacher Professional Development: $13.867 million (258.6% increase)
    Adult and Family Literacy: $18.534 million (flat funded)
    Career and Technical Education: $59.636 million (2.5% increase)
    New Choices/New Options: $2.500 million (flat funded)
    Authority Rentals/Sinking Fund Requirements: $296.483 million (0.68% increase)
    Pupil Transportation: $495.761 million (1.09% increase)
    Non-Public & Charter School Pupil Transportation: $74.037 million (3.43% decrease)
    Special Education: $953.064 million (2.57% increase)
    Early Intervention: $123.487 million (5% increase)
    Homebound Instruction: $0.705 million (9.85% decrease)
    Tuition for Orphans & Children Placed in Private Homes: $50.005 million (flat funded)
    Payments in Lieu of Taxes: $0.241 million (15.87% increase)
    Education of Migrant Laborers' Children: $0.839 million (7.02% increase)
    PA Charter Schools for the Deaf & Blind: $31.919 million (6.58% increase)
    Special Education - Approved Private Schools: $82.442 million (2.22% increase)
    APS/Charter Schools for Deaf & Blind Audit Resolution: $3.000 million (56.55% decrease)
    Intermediate Units: $6.311 million (flat funded)
    School Food Services: $27.532 million (1.06% increase)
    School Employees' Social Security: $456.377 million (2.82% increase)
    School Employees' Retirement: $254.495 million (11.22% increase)
    School Entity Demonstration Projects: $6.000 million (29.41% decrease)
    Education of Indigent Children: $0.035 million (36.36% decrease)
    High School Reform/Project 720: $4.700 million (NEW INITIATIVE)

    Other Grants and Subsidies:
    Education Mentoring: $7.339 million (140.62% increase)
    Services to Nonpublic Schools: $79.004 million (3.01% increase)
    Textbooks, Materials & Equipment for Non-Public Schools: $24.161 million (3.01% increase)
    Teen Pregnancy and Parenthood: $1.725 million (22.47% decrease)
    Comprehensive Reading: $0 (100% decrease from $0.300 million)
    Public Library Subsidy: $61.362 million (5.95% increase)
    Library Services for the Visually Impaired & Disabled: $2.965 million (flat funded)
    Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic: $0.070 million (flat funded)
    Library Access: $7.386 million (flat funded)
    Electronic Library Catalog (School Library Catalog): $3.842 million (flat funded)
    Ethnic Heritage: $0.165 million (flat funded)
    Governor's Schools of Excellence: $2.742 million (10.03% increase)
    Job Training Programs: $5.300 million (41.76% decrease)
    Charter Schools: $0 (100% decrease from $1.000 million)
    Reimbursement to School Districts for Charter School Payments: $92.602 million (14.91% increase)
    Safe and Alternative Schools: $23.326 million (flat funded)
    Alternative Education Demonstration Grants: $26.300 million (flat funded)
    Parent Involvement Programs in Cities of the First Class: $1.700 million (NEW INITIATIVE)

    Higher Education - Other Grants and Subsidies:
    Community Colleges (Operating): $214.217 million (8.07% increase)
    Community College Capital Leases/Debt Service: $37.864 million (15.21% increase)
    Regional Community College Services: $0.750 million (flat funded)
    Higher Education for the Disadvantaged: $9.320 million (flat funded)
    Higher Education of Blind or Deaf Students: $0.054 million (flat funded)
    Enhanced Technology Initiative: $0 (100% decrease from $1.000 million)
    Engineering Equipment Grants: $1.000 million (flat funded)
    Higher Education Assistance: $6.675 million (57.06% increase)
    Dormitory Sprinklers: $0.500 million (flat funded)
    Community Education Councils: $1.968 million (flat funded)
    Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology: $10.108 million (0.21% increase)

    PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA):
    State Grants to Students: $368.198 million (1% increase)
    Matching Payments: $14.122 million (flat funded)
    Institutional Assistance Grants (Non-pub. Colleges & universities): $40.186 million (1% increase)
    Bond-Hill Scholarship: $0.750 million (flat funded)
    Agricultural Loan Forgiveness: $0.085 million (flat funded)
    SciTech Scholarships: $3.100 million (flat funded)
    Cheyney University Keystone Academy: $2.000 million (flat funded)
    Pennsylvania Internship Program Grants: $0.300 million (flat funded)
    Technology Work Internship: $0 (100% decrease from $0.500 million)

    State System of Higher Education:
    State Universities: $445.354 million (2.75% increase)
    Recruitment of the Disadvantaged: $0.430 million (flat funded)
    PA Center for Environmental Education: $0.350 million
    McKeever Center: $0.206 million (flat funded)
    Affirmative Action: $1.111 million (flat funded)
    Program Initiatives: $16.046 million (flat funded)
    Employee Benefits Reconciliation: $1.700 million (29.17% decrease)
         Subtotal for SSHE. $465.197 million (2.55% increase)

  • The General Assembly also passed the following non-preferred appropriations bills for the 2005-06 fiscal year:

    Senate Bill 609: Allocates $39.539 million to the Pennsylvania School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).

    House Bill 824: Allocates $312.026 million to Penn State University. HB 824 eliminates state funding for medical education, the Penn State Children's Hospital and the Central Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. *See below.

    House Bill 825: Allocates $157.234 million to the University of Pittsburgh. HB 825 eliminates state funding for medical education for doctors, dental clinics, the Western Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, and the Graduate School of Public Health. *See below.

    House Bill 826: Allocates $162.234 million to Temple University. HB 826 eliminates state funding for medical education for doctors, dental clinics, maxillofacial prosthodontics, pediatric medicine, and the Richard J. Fox Biomedical Center. *See below.

    (* The budget includes a proposal made by Governor Rendell to fund medical education using federal Medicaid dollars. The medical schools at Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Temple University now will be supported through a share of state dollars and federal dollars; previously, medical education was funded solely by the state. The medical items eliminated from the universities' non-preferred appropriation bills are included in the Department of Public Welfare's budget for "Academic Medical Centers". These line items are funded at $20.591 million from the state and $24.911 million from federal dollars. The budget includes cautionary language that states the medical centers shall not receive less than they received in FY 2004-05 in the event that the federal government denies the use of Medicaid dollars for this purpose.)

    House Bill 827: Allocates $12.934 million to Lincoln University.

    House Bill 828: Allocates $6.764 million to Drexel University.

    House Bill 829: Allocates $44.866 million to the University of Pennsylvania.

    House Bill 830: Allocates $12.263 million to the Philadelphia Health and Education Corporation.

    House Bill 831: Allocates $9.567 million to Thomas Jefferson University.

    House Bill 832: Allocates $4.861 million to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    House Bill 833: Allocates $1.798 million to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    House Bill 834: Allocates $1.453 million to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

    House Bill 835: Allocates $1.173 million to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

    House Bill 836: Allocates $1.540 million to the Berean Training and Industrial School.

    House Bill 837: Allocates $0.187 million to the Johnson Technical Institute of Scranton.

    House Bill 838: Allocates $0.069 million to Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Delaware County.

  • Enacted Education Legislation

  • The General Assembly adopted and sent to the Governor House Bill 628, which makes omnibus changes to the state's School Code. Among the changes, the legislation:

    • Establishes a state grant program to support concurrent enrollment for high school students to pursue both secondary and postsecondary credits;

    • Expands eligibility for tutoring services through the twelfth grade (currently, tutoring is only provided through ninth grade), and allows tutoring to be provided during the school day (currently, tutoring may not be provided during normal school hours);

    • Establishes accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing requirements for approved private schools and the four state schools for the deaf and blind, and, requires PDE to develop audit standards;

    • Prioritizes Head Start funding among applicants and establishes additional criteria for receiving Head Start funding;

    • Establishes a new funding formula for community colleges and reforms the community college auditing process;

    • Establishes reporting requirements for scholarship organizations and educational improvement organizations that receive funding through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program;

    • Defines formulas for distributing FY 2005-06 basic education and special education funding, as well as supplemental funding for small district assistance, Limited English Proficient students, student enrollment growth, and other special supplements.

    Numerous other changes were made to the School Code by House Bill 628. EPLC will provide a more detailed report of these changes in coming days.

  • The General Assembly also passed and sent to the Governor this week the following legislation:

    Senate Bill 147: Requires the state Department of Education (PDE) to provide technical assistance, upon request, to a school or school district identified for warning, school improvement, or corrective action. Also, requires PDE to develop a clearinghouse of materials related to improving student's academic performance.

    Senate Bill 511 (Now Act 29): Makes changes to the Technology Work Experience Internship Program. The bill revises the definition of "emerging technology companies", delineates responsibilities for educational institutions participating in the program, outlines terms and conditions for interns participating in the program, and opens the program to graduate students. An unrelated, non-education amendment was added to the bill.

    House Bill 1304: Extends the mandate waiver program for local libraries for the 2005-06 fiscal year. The program allows libraries to apply for waivers of certain state regulations related to hours of operation, collection expenditures and more if state funding for libraries is less than that provided in FY 2002-03. The mandate waiver program was implemented in FY 2003-04 when libraries sustained a significant cut in state funding. HB 1304 also establishes a formula for funding local libraries in the FY 2005-06 fiscal year that provides each library with at least the amount it received in FY 2004-05.

    House Resolution 177: After contentious debate, the House adopted HR 177, which authorizes an investigation into academic freedom at the state's community colleges, state-owned colleges, and state-related universities. HR 177 directs the House Subcommittee on Higher Education (plus one member appointed by the Speaker of the House and one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House) to investigate "the academic atmosphere and the degree to which faculty have the opportunity to instruct and students have the opportunity to learn in an environment conducive to the pursuit of knowledge and truth and the expression of independent thought." The resolution specifically directs the Subcommittee to examine whether students are graded based on academic merit regardless of their ideological views; whether the academic environment, quality of life on campus and course materials are conductive to critical thinking and expression of independent thought; and whether faculty are hired, fired, promoted and granted tenure based on professional competence, subject knowledge, and a "view of helping students explore and understand various methods and perspectives." The Subcommittee is directed to report its findings by June 30, 2006 and may extend its investigation, if necessary, to no later than November 30, 2006.

  • Other

  • The Education Policy and Leadership Center is now accepting applications for the 2005-2006 Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). Participants in this professional development experience develop a broadened understanding of the policy process and the various aspects of education policy, enhance communication and decision making skills, refine their potential for leadership, and expand their network of professional colleagues through participation in nine full-day seminars, national conferences, and a unique strategic leadership training experience conducted by the U.S. Army War College. The nationally-recognized EPFP program was established more than 40 years ago by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Educational Leadership. For more information about the program and an application, see www.eplc.org/fellows.html.

  • Next week...The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) hosts a Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop in Minneapolis, MN, on July 11-13. The USDE also hosts a public forum on regulations related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The Education Commission of the States hosts its annual National Forum on Education Policy in Denver on July 12-15. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors meets Thursday in Harrisburg. The Center on Education Policy hosts a forum on the costs and legal issues related to implementing NCLB on Thursday in Washington, D.C. For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

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