EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, October 8, 2004

  • Retired educators would be exempt from completing professional development requirements in order to maintain an active teaching certificate under House Bill 2432, adopted by the House Education Committee on October 6. Annuitants must resume professional development activities if they return to school service for more than one school year. The bill also requires school districts to report the number of retirees who return to teaching during an emergency situation. HB 2432 now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

  • On October 6, the Senate Education Committee met to discuss House Bills 1113 and 1530. House Bill 1113 allows asthmatic school age children to carry with them and self-administer inhalers during school hours. Currently, school nurses must store inhalers. House Bill 1530 would create a Mental Health and Mental Retardation Staff Member and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor Loan Forgiveness Program, which would be administered by PHEAA. Both bills await further consideration by the full Senate.

  • Pennsylvania's community colleges need more funding to continue providing the same level of services at an affordable price as enrollments rise to record levels; community colleges are the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. A group of college presidents who appeared before the Senate Education Committee on October 5 said the colleges face a $32 million structural operating deficit and unfunded capital needs that exceed $500 million. The presidents are seeking more predictable state appropriations and dedicated funding for capital projects, a state-level coordinating board, and changes to the protracted auditing process for community colleges. The PA Commission for Community Colleges also has developed a white paper on community college funding. For more information, contact the Commission at (717) 232-7584.

  • Rep. James Roebuck introduced legislation that directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to analyze what it will cost the Commonwealth to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act. House Resolution 876 has been referred to the House Education Committee.

  • Pennsylvania continues to trail the nation in state support for K-12 public education and has seen the gap in funding between the state's highest and lowest-poverty districts increase over the past seven years, according to a report by The Education Trust. In "The Funding Gap 2004," the Trust reports that in 2002 Pennsylvania had a gap of $1,308 per student between the highest and lowest-poverty districts and a gap of $583 per student between the highest and lowest-minority districts. PA ranked 48th in state share of K-12 education funding. Read the report at www.edtrust.org

  • Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have received a five-year $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a center to study how students learn.

  • Nikki Salvatico, a first-grade teacher at General Wayne Elementary School in the Great Valley School District, was named 2005 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year by Gov. Ed Rendell.

  • Next week... The Senate Education Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Francis Barnes as Secretary of Education in Harrisburg on Tuesday.

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