EPLC Education Notebook
Monday, August 31, 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.
PENNSYLVANIA STATE BUDGET
The Pennsylvania 2009-2010 state budget impasse continues, with no end in sight. While the apparent gap in spending proposed by Governor Rendell and most Democrats on one side and the Republican legislative leaders on the other side is narrowing, significant differences remain. These differences have important implications for state support for early care and education, K-12 schools, higher education, libraries, the arts, various community services, and more. This budget will define how legislators value these needs and services.
Early care and education providers, their employees, and the families they serve are the most immediate victims of this impasse. Across the state, programs are shutting, vendors and employees are going unpaid, and in many cases parents do not have a place for their children when it is time to go to work. This is a crisis TODAY for all of these families and service providers.
PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL FUNDING CAMPAIGN
The August monthly installment of state funding for school districts – due last Thursday – was not released because of the state budget impasse. Between that and the missed state subsidy payment last month, school districts are now missing $1.3 billion in state support. Local school leaders joined with the Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign at the State Capitol last week to discuss the impact of the state budget impasse and missed state funding on school districts, and to tell legislators that school districts need a state budget – but, more important, they need the right state budget, one that recognizes and meets the needs of public schools to serve our children and thereby the Commonwealth’s future. Click here for a statement from the Campaign.
As schools across the state have started opening last week and this, the joy of a new beginning for 1.8 million children is tinged this year with program and staff cutbacks, economic uncertainty about the year ahead, and fears that state support for public education is waning. Pennsylvania's children and the schools that educate them need a 2009-10 state budget that achieves the Year 2 targets for the school funding reform enacted last year. Take action today. Contact your legislators. Ask them to pass the state budget - not just any budget, but one that continues to implement the school funding reforms begun last year.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The PA Department of Health has released guidance on the H1NI1 virus (swine flu) for K-12 schools in an effort to limit the spread of the influenza while reducing disruption to learning. These state guidelines are consistent with the newly released recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state departments of Health and Education are conducting a series of webinars with school districts across the state to inform them about the new guidelines and what is expected this coming school year. The Secretary of Education is urging all school district officials to maintain close contact with their local health departments and to share flu prevention information with families. For more information, contact the PA Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH or visit www.health.state.pa.us.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
The U.S. Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services, along with representatives of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Scholastic, Inc. and others, announced new recommendations to prevent students from falling behind in their learning due to an outbreak of swine flu in schools. The recommendations suggest that teachers prepare take home assignments for affected students and use the Internet and telephones to post homework materials, conduct classes and share information among teachers, parents and students. The U.S. Department of Education is partnering with private companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft to make resources like pre-printed lesson plans, conference call services, webinar support, podcasting and virtual classrooms more affordable and accessible. To learn more about the H1N1 Continuity of Learning Guidance, click here.
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EPLC Annual Education Finance Symposium
SAVE THE DATE! EPLC’s 2009 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will be held on Thursday, November 12, at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College. More information soon.