EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, October 1, 2004

  • State reimbursements for school breakfasts and lunches would increase to 11 cents and 12 cents per meal respectively under Senate Bill 1223, which was approved by the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The increase would cost an estimated $4.5 million. The bill awaits consideration by the full Senate.

  • The House Education Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 29 to discuss House Bill 2483, the Independent Higher Education and Community Financing Act. The bill would potentially give independent colleges in the Commonwealth funding to improve educational resources in the college and community. Sister Mary Ann Dillon, Chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania and President of Mount Aloysius College; Kathleen Owens, Chairperson of the SouthEastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education and President of Gwynedd-Mercy College; and Marcus Lingenfelter, Assistant Vice President of Government, Corporate and Foundation Relations at Widener University, all testified as to the impact the bill would have on their institutions. The Committee said it will consider HB 2483 further on Wednesday, October 6.

  • The House Rules Committee moved forward three education-related bills at its Monday, Sept. 27 meeting. House Bill 2368 allows school districts to negotiate a cyber charter tuition rate with one cyber charter provider. That rate must be accepted by all other cyber charter schools as the tuition fee for that individual school district. House Bill 42 limits school property taxes for individuals living in poverty to 3% of their household income. The state would reimburse school districts for lost revenue. House Bill 1922 allows former county employees to purchase non-school service credits toward their pension benefits. All three bills have been placed on the "tabled" calendar in the House.

  • The U.S. Department of Education has awarded three universities grants of $10 million each over five years to support new national education research centers. Vanderbilt University was selected to head up a new Center on School Choice, Competition, and Achievement; Johns Hopkins University will manage a Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will lead a new Center on Rural Education.

  • The deadline for the 2005 National Assessment of Education Progress Secondary Analysis competition is October 28, 2004. The grants will give data analysts the opportunity to research NAEP data that will be of use to the general public, parents, educators, educational researchers, or policy makers. To find out more about this grant, visit http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/researchcenter/funding.asp.

  • Next week...The Joint State Government Commission Task Force on Services to Children & Youth will hold a public hearing in Harrisburg on Monday. The Senate Education Committee will meet in Harrisburg on Tuesday for a public hearing on community colleges and again on Wednesday to discuss Senate Bill 505 and House Bills 1113 and 1530. The House Education Committee will meet in Harrisburg on Wednesday to consider House Bills 2432, 2505, and 1301. The House Finance Committee will meet in Harrisburg on Thursday for a public hearing on the Commonwealth Caucus' tax reform proposal. The PA State Board of Education Committee on Higher Education Regulations will hold a public hearing in Harrisburg on Friday. The Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program, sponsored by EPLC, will hold its second seminar in Harrisburg on Friday.

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