EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, January 25, 2008

    Content in this edition:
    Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
    Pennsylvania Bulletin
    Research and Reports

    The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.

    An unprecedented statewide coalition of broad-based education and advocacy organizations came together this week to announce the newly formed Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign. The Campaign called on Governor Rendell and the General Assembly to fundamentally reform Pennsylvania's outdated and broken school funding formula.

    Members of the Campaign stressed that if all students are to meet Pennsylvania's academic standards, the state must ensure that every school district has the resources determined necessary by the 2007 Costing-Out Study which was authorized and paid for by the General Assembly. The Campaign's funding proposal will require the Commonwealth to increase the state share of K-12 funding from around 36% to more than 50% per year, and also revise the way funds are distributed. The proposal is built around five key principles of school funding reform - adequacy, equity, efficiency, accountability and predictability.

    The share of K-12 costs paid with state funding is currently among the lowest in the country, the state's K-12 appropriations per student are several hundred dollars below the national average, and the disparity of educational funding among 501 school districts is one of the worst in the nation.

    The Campaign urged, as part of the upcoming 2008-2009 state budget, the enactment of a comprehensive school funding formula and for a significant down payment - at least $1 billion - toward full implementation over five years of the funding needed for all students to reach the state's academic standards. To accomplish this, the Campaign unveiled a plan for a new state education funding formula - the Adequacy in School Spending and Equity in Taxation (ASSET) proposal.

    The ASSET funding formula starts with the adequacy spending amount for each district as determined in the Costing-Out Study and establishes the state share by using the school district's Market Value/Personal Income Aid Ratio (the state's measure of the relative wealth of a district based on its market value per student and its personal income per student compared to the state average). In order to reduce the current over-reliance on local taxes used to support education, predominantly property taxes, ASSET caps the local share to equal no more than 2.7% of the personal income of the district's residents. The proposal also enables more than 300 school districts to reduce property taxes by more than $1 billion statewide.

    For more information about the Campaign, and to endorse the effort and become a partner in the Campaign's work, visit www.paschoolfunding.org.

    Regulatory changes to Chapter 36 (Foreign Corporation Standards) took effect upon their publication in the January 19 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin. These regulations govern postsecondary education companies based out-of-state that operate in Pennsylvania.

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children has released a publication that looks at "Elevating the Field: Using NAEYC Early Childhood Program Accreditation to Support and Reach Higher Quality in Early Childhood Programs". The report reviews strategies that states are using to improve the quality of their early childhood education programs, and highlights Pennsylvania's Keystone STARS initiative.

  • The Center for Law and Social Policy, in conjunction with ZERO TO THREE, has developed a policy framework that identifies key principles that establish the foundation of supports that all babies and toddlers in child care need. The Framework also includes 15 recommendations related to state child care licensing, quality, and subsidy policies.

  • The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices recently surveyed states about their Early Childhood Advisory Councils and found that of the 36 states that responded to the survey, Councils exist in 31 states. The survey provides additional detail on the establishment, membership, funding, priorities and activities of existing Councils.

    Next Week...

  • The House of Representatives and State Senate return to session on Monday, January 28.

  • The House Education Committee meets Wednesday to consider House Bill 1841, which establishes a Public School Employees' Benefits Board to explore the development of a statewide public school employee health care benefit system.

  • The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee meets Wednesday to release a report on the Duquesne School District, as required by Act 45 of 2007.

  • For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

    EPLC Education Notebook is published by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Permission to reprint or electronically redistribute the Notebook in whole or in part is granted provided attribution to EPLC is provided.

    The Education Policy and Leadership Center is an independent, non-partisan and not-for-profit organization. The Mission of EPLC is to encourage and support the enactment and implementation of effective state-level education policies in order to improve student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages.

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