EPLC Education Notebook

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    State Budget Update
    EPLC News
    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.


    The U.S. Department of Education announced on August 24 that nine states and the District of Columbia were second-round winners in the Race-to-the-Top competition.  Pennsylvania, although a finalist in both rounds one and two, was not among the winners.  Pennsylvania leaders had hoped the state might be eligible for up to $400 million in special stimulus funding. 

    The winners in the second round competition are:

    • District of Columbia: $75 million.
    • Florida: $700 million.
    • Georgia: $400 million.
    • Hawaii: $75 million.
    • Maryland: $250 million.
    • Massachusetts: $250 million.
    • New York: $700 million.
    • North Carolina: $400 million.
    • Ohio: $400 million.
    • Rhode Island: $75 million.


    Congressional Action Will Ease State’s Budget Situation
    Pennsylvania school districts got a financial boost as a result of Congressional action earlier this month.  Following approval in the Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 247-161 for legislation that included two funding provisions that will greatly bolster states like Pennsylvania that are facing deep budget deficits. One of the provisions will mean $10 billion in aid to local school systems; the other will provide states with $16 billion for increased Medicaid support (FMAP), relieving budget pressures that could have meant drastic education budget cuts in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

    For Pennsylvania, the two provisions will provide approximately $600 million for increased Medicaid support and nearly $380 million more for teachers.  The Medicaid support is less than the $850 million originally under consideration and anticipated by Pennsylvania lawmakers when they approved the state budget a few weeks ago.

    The state, however, will need to fill the gap between the anticipated $850 million and the actual $600 million to be received.  Governor Rendell has announced a set of actions to close that deficit and ensure Pennsylvania meets its constitutional requirement of a balanced budget.  Those actions include a decision to reduce the basic education subsidy increase for this year to $200 million, a $50 million reduction.  Every school district's subsidy allocation will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis to reflect the $50 million reduction.  Without Congressional action on FMAP, the entire basic education increase for 2010-2011 was threatened with elimination.

    Impact of the EduJobs Program
    The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (H.R. 1586) was signed into law by President Obama on August 10.  In addition to the FMAP funding described above, the legislation also establishes a new program, commonly referred to as EduJobs, and provides $10 billion to states to create or save education positions in K-12 public schools.  Pennsylvania will receive approximately $380 million for this new program. 

    These new EduJobs federal funds must be appropriated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly before they can be allocated to school districts.  The Pennsylvania Department of Education has advised school districts that it is expected that legislative action will come in the winter/spring of 2011, and that the $380 million will be driven to districts under our basic education subsidy funding formula.  While these funds will be available for use in the 2010-11 school year, districts have until September 30, 2012 to obligate the EduJobs funds.

    Here are some of the details of the EduJobs legislation:

    • $50,000,000 is reserved for schools run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    • The remaining funding ($9,950,000,000) will be distributed to states as follows: 61% based on each state’s relative student-age population and 39% on their relative total population.
    • States are required to distribute funding to Local Education Agencies (school districts) either using the state’s primary K-12 school funding formula or based on the previous year’s Title I distributions.
    • States are required to expend their funding from this program during the 2010-11 school year.
    • Up to 2% of funding may be retained by states for administrative costs or to create or retain state-level education positions.
    • Funds must be used by school districts for “compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees”.
    • Funds may not be used by districts for general administrative expenses or for other support services expenditures.
    • States cannot use these funds to replenish rainy day funds or to reduce or retire debt.

    Maintenance of Effort
    Provisions were added to this bill to help to ensure that these funds are used to supplement and not supplant current education funding in states.  States must meet one of the following maintenance of effort provisions:

    • For the 2010-11 school year, states must maintain their K-12 and higher education spending at least at FY 2008-09 levels.
    • States must maintain both K-12 and higher education spending as the same percentage of the overall state budget as they did in FY 2009-10.
    • States where tax revenue was lower in 2009 than it was in 2006 must either maintain K-12 and higher education spending at 2006 levels or maintain K-12 and higher education spending at the same percentage of the overall 2005-06 state budget.


    Independent Regulatory Review Commission

    On August 19, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) approved Regulation Number 6-322 (#2859): Academic Standards and Assessment by a 5-0 vote.  This rulemaking amends 22 Pa. Code Chapter 4.  Notice of public comment was omitted for this regulation and it will become effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  The rulemaking revises academic standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Mathematics, with full implementation of the Common Core standards by July 1, 2013.  Currently, each state has its own academic standards – meaning that students across the country are learning at different levels.  While Pennsylvania’s academic standards are viewed by many as among the nation’s strongest, Common Core standards in English-language arts (ELA) and math will raise academic expectations nationwide, improve equity, and ensure that all students are prepared for college and career in core subjects.  The Common Core will result in grade-level standards in ELA and mathematics, tied to college and career ready targets.  As of August 19, 2010, 34 states and D.C. have adopted the Common Core standards.  For more information on the IRRC process, click here.


    Education Policy Fellowship Program

    There remain only a few days to apply for the 2010-2011 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The nationally prestigious Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC).

    The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 16-17, 2010 and continues through June 2011.  Click on http://www.eplc.org/fellows.html for complete details.

    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 cowell@eplc.org.

    Save these Dates!

    • EPLC will host its 2010 Education Policy Leadership Awards Reception on Wednesday, October 20, 2010.  More details soon.
    • EPLC’s 2010 Pennsylvania Education Finance Symposium will take place Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the Wildwood Conference Center at Harrisburg Area Community College.  More details soon.


    • Check out Pennsylvania’s Profile!(New from ED.gov)

    Since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) nearly a decade ago, the U.S. Department of Education has collected more data than ever before about the academic performance of our students and schools.  See data on how we are doing as a nation—student achievement in reading and math, high school graduation rates, schools making adequate yearly progress, highly qualified teachers, student participation in tutoring and school choice options, state participation in flexibility options, and more.

    • Link between the National and International Assessments Planned for a 2011 Study

    The National Center for Education Statistics is initiating a new effort to link national and international assessments so that states can compare their own students’ performance against international benchmarks.  The linking study, to be conducted in 2011, is intended to enable NCES to project state-level scores on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  The relationships between the two assessments of mathematics and science that are found in these two samples will permit state-level projections of how the students in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who took NAEP would have performed in eighth-grade mathematics and science on TIMSS, with scores that can be compared to those of other countries.

    • Dual Enrollment Programs Show Promise for Non-High Achievers

    A report commissioned by the Blackboard Institute found that dual enrollment programs can help high school kids - even those who are considered "high risk" - increase their chances of success and improve school retention efforts.  Dual enrollment programs give high school students the chance to take courses for college credit.  While the researchers also found examples of other programs that appear to increase college attendance and success rates even for non-traditional students, they also found a mixed bag of student support systems to ensure that success.  That includes academic support, such as tutoring or teacher attention; course reconfigurations, such as stretching a one-semester class across two semesters; college preparatory initiatives, such as individual guidance in filling out financial aid applications or helping select and apply to college; career exploration programs, in which the student might do "job shadowing" or have work-based learning experiences; and mentoring by teachers, school staff, or others.  The report concluded that there is evidence that dual enrollment helps a wide range of students to be more successful in college.  Students in these programs experience themselves as real college students and gain confidence and skills that can help them to excel academically.  Click here for the full report.


    • Two Pennsylvania education organizations are receiving up to $30 million in federal stimulus funding to further develop promising innovations in education that will benefit Pennsylvania students.  Children's Learning Initiative, based in Philadelphia, and ASSET Inc., based in Pittsburgh, were awarded highly-competitive "validation" grants through the i3 fund to build upon programs which have shown evidence of success.  The i3 fund, an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Fund) program, was developed to support local efforts to start or expand innovative, research-based programs with demonstrated success in helping close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for high-need students.  The competition was open to school districts, nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education.


    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will reconvene at 1:00PM on September 13, 2010.

    The Pennsylvania Senate will reconvene at 1:00PM on September 20, 2010.

    Next week…

    • The State Board of Education will host a roundtable discussion on Common Core Standards on August 31 at the Colonial IU #20 in Easton, PA.For information on these and other upcoming events, see www.eplc.org/calendar.html.

    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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