EPLC Education Notebook
Wednesday, July 22, 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.
The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday, by a vote of 150-49, rejected Senate amendments to a budget bill (House Bill 1416). The Senate-amended version of the bill, approved by the Senate on Monday, would have killed school funding reform efforts in Pennsylvania. The Senate’s amendment essentially re-wrote the legislation to mirror Senate Bill 850 – the budget plan previously adopted by the Senate – which provided for a major reduction in state funding for basic education and used federal stimulus funds to replace the cut in state funds rather than to increase funding for basic education consistent with the 6-year plan for school funding reform. The House’s bi-partisan rejection of the Senate’s amendment has set the stage for the budget bill to be sent to a House-Senate Conference Committee. This triggers final (although not necessarily speedy) negotiations where leaders from all four legislative caucuses and the Governor’s Office will negotiate a compromise budget plan.
The House rejection of the Senate-amended legislation was significant in that nearly half of the House Republicans joined democrats to reject the Senate-amended bill. Following yesterday’s House vote to non-concur with the Senate’s budget plan, both Gov. Ed Rendell and Democratic leaders in the House said the vote signaled strong bi-partisan support for protecting basic education funding and other services that protect children. Democratic leaders also said it was a vote against a budget approach that passed the buck for public education funding to local property taxpayers. Click here to watch video of the Governor and House leaders discussing Tuesday’s budget vote.
The Pennsylvania House and Senate are on-call for the remainder of this week and are scheduled to return to session on Monday, July 27. However, negotiations among legislative leaders and the Governor’s Office are expected to continue in the interim.
PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL FUNDING CAMPAIGN
Become a fan of the PA School Funding Campaign! Click here to find the Campaign on Facebook, and click here to follow the Campaign on Twitter. The Campaign’s web site is www.paschoolfunding.org.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following non-preferred appropriations bills this week (each bill awaits further consideration by the full Senate):
Senate Bill 1036: Appropriates $175.848 million to the University of Pittsburgh. This amount includes $160.490 million in state funding for FY 2009-2010, $7.679 million in general support from federal stimulus dollars, and an additional $7.679 million in federal stimulus dollars to assist with costs incurred during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. SB 1036 also requires Pitt to make all articulation agreements with other higher education institutions available on the Internet.
Senate Bill 1037: Appropriates $180.860 million to Temple University. This amount includes $164.974 million in state funding for FY 2009-2010, $7.943 million in general support from federal stimulus dollars, and an additional $7.943 million in federal stimulus dollars to assist with costs incurred during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. SB 1037 also requires Temple to make all articulation agreements with other higher education institutions available on the Internet.
Senate Bill 1038: Appropriates $13.949 million to Lincoln University. This amount includes $13.623 million in state funding for FY 2009-2010, $0.163 million in general support from federal stimulus dollars, and an additional $0.163 million in federal stimulus dollars to assist with costs incurred during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. SB 1038 also requires Lincoln to make all articulation agreements with other higher education institutions available on the Internet.
Senate Bill 1039: Appropriates $35.682 million to the University of Pennsylvania to support the University’s veterinary program in FY 2009-2010,
Senate Bill 1040: Appropriates $350.387 million to Penn State University. This amount includes $304.450 million in state funding and $15.482 million in federal stimulus funding for the University for FY 2009-2010 and $13.623 million in state funding and $0.675 million in federal stimulus funding for the PA College of Technology for FY 2009-2010, as well as an additional $15.482 million in federal stimulus for the University and $0.675 million in federal stimulus for the PA College of Technology to assist with costs incurred during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. SB 1040 also requires Penn State to make all articulation agreements with other higher education institutions available on the Internet.
Last week, President Barack Obama announced the American Graduation Initiative designed to strengthen the nation’s community colleges by investing $12 billion over 10 years to assist community colleges with training people for jobs of the future. The plan seeks to help an additional five million Americans earn degrees and certificates over the next decade. The initiative calls for the creation of the Community College Challenge Fund, the modernization of community college facilities and the creation of a new online skills laboratory. Obama proposed paying for the plan by ending “wasteful subsidies” to banks and other private providers of student loans. For more information, click here.
The Education Commission of the States, along with Academy for Educational Development and Iowa State University, recently announced the establishment of a Community College Policy Center. The Center will serve as a clearinghouse for state policymakers, community college leaders, policy analysts and researchers by disseminating information on policy trends and issues affecting community colleges. The center will focus specifically on information and polices that help states make the most of their community colleges in terms of bolstering economic development and educational opportunity.
EPLC continues to accept applications for the 2009-2010 class of the Pennsylvania Education Policy Fellowship Program. The cohort is now about two-thirds filled and applications should be submitted as soon as possible. To learn more about this nationally-recognized professional development program, and for an application, see http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html/
The Pennsylvania House and Senate are on 6-hour call for the remainder of this week and will return to session on Monday, July 27.
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission meets Thursday to consider changes to the state’s special education regulations.
For information on this and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.