EPLC Education Notebook
Monday, April 13, 2009
Content in this edition:
The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC website at www.eplc.org/ednotebook.html.
EPLC is accepting applications for its Spring 2009 Parent and Community Leadership Institute in Philadelphia. The Institute is a program for people who want to know more about education policy issues and want to join a network of community leaders who are able to influence important statewide and local education policies. The free, 12-hour program will be presented over four evening sessions. For program details and to register online, see www.eplc.org/PCLI.html. Last week, the workshop series began in the Pittsburgh area where registration is now closed.
House Democratic Policy Committee
Several members of the Steering Committee of the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign appeared before the House Democratic Policy Committee last week to discuss basic education funding. They provided a historical perspective on the evolution of Pennsylvania’s school funding system and the state’s 2007 education costing-out study, and thanked policymakers for taking bold action to use the results of the study to establish a new, rational school funding formula and a goal to fully fund it over six years. They also expressed support for the refinements proposed to the formula by Governor Ed Rendell that would eliminate the negative impact of the location cost metric (which measures geographic cost differences across Pennsylvania); provide all districts with a minimum funding increase; and, change the schedule for phasing-in full funding so that lower-taxing, rural districts receive an increase in state funding more quickly.
Finally, the panel urged the General Assembly to use federal stimulus funds to keep on schedule with phasing-in full funding for the state’s new education funding formula. The six-year plan identified last year is a rational and predictable way for school districts to responsibly plan their budgets. Distributing federal stimulus funds for education (identified as stabilization funds) through the state’s new formula, rather than through the federal Title I formula (as allowed by federal law), will allow funds to be driven out based on adequacy and equity and will reach more districts.
Click here for a copy of the part of the presentation about funding background made to the Committee by EPLC President Ron Cowell.
House Republican Policy Committee
The House Republican Policy Committee discussed federal stimulus funds with Pennsylvania Congressmen Joe Pitts (R-Lancaster/Chester/Berks) and Jim Gerlach (R-Berks/Chester/Lehigh/Montgomery) on Tuesday. For more information about the stimulus hearing, contact the office of House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Stan Saylor at (717) 783-6426.
Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak has formally authorized the voluntary merger of the Center Area School District and Monaca School District (Beaver County) to create the Central Valley School District which will take effect on July 1, 2009. A copy of the resolution authorizing the merger is available in the April 4 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
RESEARCH AND REPORTS
Education Trust recently released its 2009 series of Education Watch reports that are state-by-state reports that examine how well each state is doing on state and national assessments in reading and mathematics, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, access to rigorous curriculum, qualified teachers and college affordability. Click here for the Pennsylvania state report. The Education Trust says moving forward the reports can help to track the impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending on educational progress and equity.
For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.