EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, June 6, 2008

    Content in this edition:

    Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - State House
    - State Senate
    Independent Regulatory Review Commission
    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.

    The House Education Committee on Wednesday adopted legislation to enact the Governor's plan for a new school funding formula. House Bill 2449 was approved by the Committee by a 23-5 vote. Please take a moment to call or email those Committee members who voted for this legislation and thank them for supporting this critical first step in the legislative process to give Pennsylvania its first permanent, fair, and reliable funding formula since 1991.

    YEAS - 23

    Majority Chairman Rep. James Roebuck (D-Phila.)
    (717) 783-1000

    Minority Chairman Rep. Jess Stairs (R-Fayette, Westmoreland)
    (717) 783-9311

    Rep. Bob Bastian (R-Bedford, Somerset)
    (717) 783-8756

    Rep. Karen Beyer (R-Lehigh, Northampton)
    (717) 783-1673

    Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne, Monroe)
    (717) 787-3589

    Rep. Lawrence Curry (D-Phila., Montgomery)
    (717) 783-1079

    Rep. H. Scott Conklin (D-Centre)
    (717) 787-9473

    Rep. Mike Fleck (R-Blair, Huntingdon, Mifflin)
    (717) 787-3335

    Rep. Richard Grucela (D-Northampton)
    (717) 705-1878

    Rep. Michael Hanna (D-Centre, Clinton)
    (717) 772-2283

    Rep. Patrick Harkins (D-Erie)
    (717) 787-7406

    Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland (D-Delaware)
    (717) 787-5881

    Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer)
    (717) 772-4035

    Rep. Beverly Mackereth (R-York)
    (717) 783-2655

    Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith (D-Chester)
    (717) 705-1922

    Rep. Duane Milne (R-Chester)
    (717) 787-8579

    Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery, Philadelphia)
    (717) 787-6886

    Rep. John Pallone (D-Armstrong, Westmoreland)
    (717) 783-1819

    Rep. Frank Andrew Shimkus (D-Lackawanna)
    (717) 772-1314

    Rep. Curtis Sonney (R-Erie)
    (717) 783-9087

    Rep. Chelsa Wagner (D-Allegheny)
    (717) 783-1582

    Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny)
    (717) 783-3783

    Rep. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne)
    (717) 787-1751

    NAYS - 5

    Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler)
    (717) 783-1707

    Rep. Bernie O'Neill (R-Bucks)
    (717) 705-7170

    Rep. Thomas Quigley (R-Montgomery)
    (717) 772-9963

    Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Forest, McKean, Warren)
    (717) 787-1367

    Rep. Sam Rohrer (R-Berks)
    (717) 787-8550

    State House

  • The House Appropriations Committee approved the following non-preferred appropriation bills this week (each bill has been re-committed back to the House Appropriations Committee):

    House Bill 2326:  Appropriates $46.525 million to the University of Pennsylvania for FY 2008-2009.  This bill was amended so that funding provided for the University’s veterinary activities and Center for Infectious Disease would be paid quarterly and funding provided for dental clinics, the medical school and cardiovascular studies would be made in two equal payments, the first by September 15 and the second by December 15.

    House Bill 2328:  Appropriates $6.717 million to the Philadelphia Health and Education Corporation for FY 2008-2009.  This bill was amended so that funding provided for the Doctor of Medicine program, for general maintenance of the Colleges of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, for minority educational and recruitment programs, and for the operating expenses of the College of Medicine would be paid in two equal payments by the Secretary of Education, the first by September 15 and the second by December 15.  Additionally, funding to support the handicapped children’s clinic would be paid under the same schedule by the Secretary of Health.  Finally, funding for continued pediatric outpatient and inpatient treatment of severe physically disabling diseases would be allocated by the Secretary of Health in equal quarterly payments.

    House Bill 2331:  Appropriates $4.950 million to Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia for FY 2008-2009.  This bill was amended so that funds will be distributed in two equal payments, the first by September 15 and the second by December 15.

    House Bill 2455:  Appropriates $42.297 million for the operating expenses of the Public School Employees’ Retirement Fund for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2313:  Appropriates $336.834 million to Penn State University for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2315:  Appropriates $170.334 million to the University of Pittsburgh for FY 2008-09.

    House Bill 2317: Appropriates $175.504 to Temple University for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2320:  Appropriates $13.993 million to Lincoln University for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2323:  Appropriates $7.037 million to Drexel University for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2334:  Appropriates $6.609 million to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2337:  Appropriates $1.701 million to the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2338:  Appropriates $1.220 million to the University of the Arts, Philadelphia for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2339:  Appropriates $1.512 million to the Berean Training and Industrial School for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2340:  Appropriates $0.195 million to the Johnson Technical Institute of Scranton for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2341:  Appropriates $0.071 million to the Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades in Delaware County for FY 2008-2009.

    House Bill 2342:  Appropriates $1.870 million to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie for FY 2008-2009.

  • The House Finance Committee this week amended and adopted House Resolution 459, which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the fiscal impact of tax exempt properties on school districts and municipalities.  HR 459 also requires the LBFC to examine payment in lieu of tax programs and fair share programs currently being utilized in the Commonwealth and methods other states use to alleviate the impact of tax exempt properties, and make recommendations about how the state could address issues related to tax-exempt properties.  HR 459 awaits further consideration by the full House.

  • The House Finance Committee also amended and adopted House Resolution 169, which directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of freezing and gradually eliminating local property taxes for senior citizens.  HR 169 awaits further consideration by the full House.

  • State Senate

    The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved an amended version of Senate Bill 1315, which would provide tuition reimbursement for volunteer firefighters, fire police and emergency services personnel to pursue associate’s or bachelor’s degrees at Pennsylvania community colleges, State System of Higher Education universities, state-related universities and independent institutions of higher education. PHEAA would reimburse participating schools 50% of a student’s tuition (or in the case of independent schools, up to 50% of state-related institutions’ average tuition cost).  To qualify, an individual must actively serve as a volunteer and provide a sworn statement that they have participated in at least 30% of the volunteer organization’s emergency responses during the last 18 months, except junior volunteers who must participate in at least 20% of emergency responses or have completed at least 20 hours of training.  Tuition reimbursement would be limited to five academic years for full-time students or the equivalent for part-time students.  SB 1315 awaits further consideration by the full Senate.


    On Thursday, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) gave its approval to final changes to the state’s special education regulations (Chapter 14).  The changes will take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  For a copy of the final form Chapter 14 regulations, see www.irrc.state.pa.us/Regulations/RegInfo.cfm?IRRCNo=2618.

  • Final changes to Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations governing Vocational Education (Chapter 339) took effect upon their publication in the May 31 Pennsylvania Bulletin.

  • PDE is now accepting applications for Federal Tech Prep Grant Funds for 2008-09.  Applications are due by June 30, 2008.  For details on the allowable uses of these competitive grant funds and entities eligible for funding, see the May 31 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

  • The Department of Education is considering approval of a new medial college.  PDE will take action on this without holding a public hearing unless a written request is received for a hearing.  Information on submitting such a request is available in the May 31 Pennsylvania Bulletin.


    A new research report released this week by the Education Law Center shows that “public education is a worthy investment for state government, with immense social and economic benefits.”  The report, Pennsylvania’s Best Investment: The Social and Economic Benefits of Public Education, was prepared by Dr. David Baker, Professor of Education at Penn State, and Dr. Eric Cummings, Assistant Professor of Education at Cumberland University.  The report shows the relationship between quality education and:

    • Employment and income: High school dropouts are more than twice as likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to receive welfare.  A 50 percent reduction in the national dropout rate would produce an increase of $45 billion annually in net economic benefit.  The study cites 2006 research by the Wachovia Economics Group, noting that “economic growth will continue to be uneven in Pennsylvania because of local differences in educational opportunity.”
    • Crime:  While 18 percent of all adults have not completed high school, 41 percent of prisoners have not.  The annual cost of incarcerating one prisoner is about $32,000 (compared with the Costing-Out Study’s finding that the average cost of providing an adequate education is $11,926).  Pennsylvania would save $288 million annually in crime-related costs if the male graduation rate increased only five percent.
    • Health:  Graduating from high school improves individuals’ health, reduces premature death, increases preventative health care and reduces uncompensated emergency room care, reduces dependence on public health programs by 60 percent, and reduces the rate of alcohol abuse six-fold.
    • Civic and political participation:  Better education yields increased participation in volunteer organizations, voter participation, and development of social capital in communities

    The report cites the current inadequacy and inequity of the state’s school finance system and concludes: “All Pennsylvanians benefit from effective public schools.  And we all pay the price for educational failure, including the social and economic costs of unemployment, shrinking job opportunities, rising crime, civic distrust, and high taxes needed to pay for health care and public assistance.”

    Next Week...

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children holds its national institute for early childhood professional development in New Orleans on June 8-11.
  • The House Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal-State Relations meets Wednesday to consider House Bill 2518.
    • The Eighth Annual Quality Education Conference takes place June 11-12 in Washington, DC.

      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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