EPLC Education Notebook
Friday, April 4, 2008
- State House
- Pennsylvania State Board of Education
The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.
PENNSYLVANIA POLICYMAKERSPennsylvania House
The House Education Committee on Wednesday gave its approval to House Bill 2235, which would provide grants from the Department of Community and Economic Development to municipalities who provide primary municipal services to PA State System of Higher Education universities (PASSHE). Grants would be made to reimburse municipalities for the cost of providing primary municipal services and the loss of tax revenue incurred by the presence of tax exempt properties used by PASSHE. The bill also includes a formula for distributing grant dollars to municipalities, and includes $3 million to be used for this purpose in FY 2008-09.
Also on Wednesday, the House Education Committee defeated legislation (House Bill 1833) that would have given a school district’s governing body the authority to close a local charter school based on the academic performance of its students on the state’s math and reading tests. HB 1833 would have allowed a charter school to be closed if the charter school’s students scored at a lower level of proficiency for two consecutive years on the state PSSAs than the students enrolled in the public school where the majority of the charter school’s students reside. Committee members expressed concerns about basing the decision to close a school solely on test scores, the fairness of state tests for special education students, and creating a level of accountability applicable to charter schools but not to other public schools.
The Committee also defeated a bill (House Bill 287) to establish the World Learn Program, designed to provide high school students with opportunities and incentives to learn about and address geopolitical suffering. The bill would have provided matching funds for student projects that benefit international charities or provide aid to those in need in foreign countries through corporate donation made via the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program and state tax dollars.
State Board of Education
The Pennsylvania Senate this week confirmed 12 gubernatorial nominations to the State Board of Education, including seven new appointments. New members are: Corrinne A. Caldwell (of Newtown Square, Delaware County); Sheila Dow-Ford (of Harrisburg, Dauphin County); Daniel W. Fogarty (of Fleetwood, Berks County); Arnold Hillman (of Harrisburg, Dauphin County); Edward J. Sheehan, Jr. (of Flourtown, Montgomery County); and, A. Lee Williams (of Slippery Rock, Butler County). The following five members were re-appointed to the Board: James E. Barker (of McKean, Erie County); Constance H. Davis (of Bellefonte, Centre County); Francine G. McNairy (of Millersville, Lancaster County); Francis J. Michelini (of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County); and, Larry A. Wittig (of Andreas, Schuylkill County). Gubernatorial appointees to the board serve six-year, staggered terms.