EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, April 13, 2009

    Content in this edition:
    EPLC News
    Pennsylvania Policymakers
    - House Democratic Policy Committee
    - House Republican Policy Committee
    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.



    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.



    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.



  • Recently elected State Senator David Argall (R-29) has been appointed to serve on the Senate Education and Appropriations Committees.  Argall, who previously served in the State House of Representatives, won a special election last month to fill the seat of the late Senator James Rhoades.  An election to fill Argall’s former House seat will be held concurrent with the May Primary Election.

  • The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) presented House Speaker Keith McCall with its 2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement on Behalf of Higher Education.  During it annual meeting held this week in Harrisburg, AICUP also presented Richard Kneedler, President Emeritus of Franklin & Marshall College, with the association’s Francis J. Michelini Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education.


    This week…

  • The Pennsylvania House and Senate are in recess and return to session on Monday, April 20.

  • The American Education Research Association holds its annual conference in San Diego, CA on April 13-17.

  • The Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee meets in Horsham on Tuesday for a public hearing on food allergy reaction management in public schools.

  • The PA Department of Education Bureau of Special Education holds its annual conference “Getting Results: Educating Students in a Standards-Aligned System” on April 14-17 in Hershey.

  • The Pennsylvania House Education Committee holds a public hearing on STEM education’s regional impact on business, industry, higher education access and training on Wednesday in Philadelphia.

  • The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee holds a public hearing on higher education as an industry on Thursday in Philadelphia.
  • The Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children holds its annual conference on April 16-18 in Philadelphia.

  • 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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