EPLC Education Notebook

Friday, May 30, 2008

Content in this edition:
Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign
Pennsylvania Policymakers
- Pennsylvania Department of EducationCorrection

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




Under Pennsylvania’s current school funding system, our Governor and state legislative leaders decide each year how state funds should be distributed to school districts, and there is no consistent system that is guaranteed from year-to-year.  But if districts don’t know how much state money they’ll receive year-to-year, they cannot reliably plan and budget from one school year to the next.  And if districts can’t develop long-term plans based on how much they can afford to spend, our students won’t be guaranteed the resources they need to receive a high quality education.
The General Assembly’s 2007 Costing-Out Study provides the information needed to determine what it costs to educate every child, no matter where he or she lives.  What’s more, the findings of this Study provide the information needed to create a sound and equitable school funding formula that school districts can rely on from year to year.

Tell your state legislators that the past failure to utilize a rational and consistent funding formula to determine the yearly distribution of state education funds to school districts is not an effective way to fund public education, and will bring us no closer to an adequate or equitable school funding system to support Pennsylvania’s students.  Governor Rendell has made a bold proposal to change this process and to enact and fund a responsible and effective system to be used for funding public education.

Pennsylvania legislators will soon be debating the details of the 2008-2009 state budget.  The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to consider the education funding proposal made by Governor Rendell.  You can send a message today to your House member and State Senator.

For more information on the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign and additional tools and resources for your work, please go to www.paschoolfunding.org.


Pennsylvania Department of Education

PDE recently released revised guidelines for Act 101 programs.  Find the updated guidelines at www.pdehighered.state.pa.us/higher/lib/higher/Guidelines_2008_Final_Version.pdf.  The new guidelines focus on outcomes of college access programs supported by Act 101 funding and provide for a three-year funding cycle, beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year.  Beginning in 2011-12, Act 101 grants will be awarded based on program effectiveness.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Equal Opportunity Act of 1971 (Act 101) is intended to help insure that disadvantaged college students succeed.  It is designed to serve the most disadvantaged students attending Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education.  While the demographic characteristics of these students may vary by institution due to such factors as admissions criteria, selectivity and mission, Act 101 funds must be used to serve those Pennsylvania students who, in the absence of Act 101 services, would be least likely to make good academic progress and graduate.



In the May 23, 2008 edition of the EPLC Education Notebook, EPLC reported that the PA State Board of Education will add student representation on the Board, but we reported an incomplete listing of the composition of an advisory body that will suggest student participants to the State Board.  The advisory body created by the Board to select postsecondary education students for consideration will include a representative from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), as well as community colleges, PASSHE universities, state-related universities, and proprietary institutions as previously reported.



The Pennsylvania House and Senate return to session on Monday, June 2.

Next week…

  • The House Education Committee meets Wednesday, June 4 to consider House Bills 2440, 2442 and 2449 which address, respectively, special education payments to school districts, providing more flexibility in the Educational Assistance Program, and establishment of a new basic education funding formula.

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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