EPLC Education Notebook
Monday, July 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.
STATE BUDGET PROCESS CONTINUES
Later today (July 13), the House Appropriations Committee will likely meet with the intention of House Democratic leaders to have the majority Democrats move forward Senate Bill 850, a bill they very much dislike. The plan, if Democrats stick together in Committee and on the House floor, is to pass and send to the Governor SB850 as it passed the Senate several weeks ago. Because that legislation spends more than is estimated to be available, the Governor would have to use his veto power to make even additional cuts in what is considered rather draconian legislation. Those cuts combined with the insufficient funding already represented by SB850 for education and other programs would make even more obvious to many the need for new revenues in order to eventually pass a responsible and sufficient budget. That’s the plan!
But House Republicans don’t intend to allow Democrats to have their way. House Republicans have announced a major amendment they will offer to SB850. They also have announced support for several revenue sources that they say would ensure a balanced SB850 that would require no line-item vetoes by the Governor.
The Administration has quickly challenged some of the assumptions of the revenue sources suggested by republicans, and also pointed out that much of the additional revenue identified to balance the House Republican budget proposal is at best a one-time resource, therefore only pushing off to next year more tough decisions on budget and taxes. This Republican budget also continues the Senate’s proposal to cut state funding for public education and abandon the six-year plan for school funding reform.
PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL FUNDING CAMPAIGN
House Bill 1148: Requires PDE to collaborate with advisory health councils to develop and publish guidelines for managing life-threatening food allergies in schools. The guidelines must assist school districts with: understanding the scope of the problem; detailed policies and protocols to prevent allergic reaction emergencies; systemic planning and multi-disciplinary teaching approaches; staff training; parental responsibilities; and emergency response protocols. School districts may submit their food allergy management policy to PDE to be included in the clearinghouse of wellness policies and information regarding child health, nutrition and physical education. This information will be made available on the Department’s website. HB 1148 has been re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
House Bill 1659: Requires full transfer of an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree between the state’s community colleges and state system of higher education (PASSHE) universities by December 31, 2011 that would allow students to transfer with full junior standing. Independent colleges and universities and State-related universities could choose to participate in the degree transfer system. HB 1659 has been re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
House Bill 1615: Makes summer pre-Kindergarten programs for three- and four-year olds eligible for the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC). HB 1615 has been re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee.
State Board of Education
Pennsylvania State Board of Education Chairman Joe Torsella last week announced a compromise on Keystone Exams, a proposal by Gov. Rendell to create voluntary, end-of-course exams for high schools. Click here for details on the compromise. The plan apparently represents an agreement between PDE, the State Board of Education, at least some members of the legislature, and several statewide education organizations. The Senate Education Committee this week will hold a hearing on the compromise plan. EPLC will provide additional detail following that hearing.
Legislative Budget and Finance Committee
Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate confirmed the reappointment of Kenneth Jarin to the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education. His term will expire on December 31, 2012.
Applications are being accepted for the 2009-2010 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Click on http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html for complete details.
The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 10-11, 2009 and continues through June 2010. Space is limited to approximately 30 positions, so it is advisable to submit an application as soon as possible. The application may be downloaded online, but must be submitted by mail with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.