EPLC Masthead
EPLC Education Notebook

Monday, October 3, 2011

In this issue

The EPLC Education Notebook (current and past editions) also is available by visiting the EPLC web site at http://www.eplc.org/publications-reports/weekly-policy-notebook/


  Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the following bills:


  Senate Bill 367 (Sen. Donald White, R-41) would establish the "Indigenous Mineral Resources Development Act" that would allowthe Department of General Services (DGS) to lease State-owned land and land owned by the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) or grant a right of way for the purpose of removing mineral resources. The bill was re-reported as amended by a vote of 25-1.  The bill is now on second consideration in the Senate.


  Senate Bill 560 (Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24) would establish the State Military College Legislative Appointment Initiative Program.  The bill was re-reported as committed by a vote of 23-3.


  Senate Bill 743 (Sen. John Rafferty, R-44) would allow an individual who does not hold a professional educator certification, but who is qualified as a teacher or director in a private driver education or training school, to teach driver education in a public school.  The bill was re-reported as committed by a vote of 26-0.  The bill is now on second consideration in the Senate.  


  On September 28, the Senate Finance Committee held a public hearing on the status 
    of Pennsylvania's public pension systems, the Public School Employees' Retirement  
    System (PSERS) and the State Employees' Retirement System (SERS).
  Joint testimony
    was given by representatives of both systems that provided a snapshot of PSERS/ SERS,
    remaining budgetary challenges, case law regarding contract clauses prohibiting benefit
    changes for existing employees, and a proposal to utilize a combination of solutions to deal
    with the pension crisis.  
Also testifying at the hearing were representatives from Public
    Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) and Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement
(PMRS).  To read the prepared testimony and view video/audio recording of the
click here.



  On September 26, the House Rules Committee re-reported as committed House Bill 1338
    (Rep. Matthew Baker, R-68) which would provide for training of school employees in diabetes

    care and management and for possession and use of diabetes medication and monitoring

    equipment.  The bill awaits further action by the House.


  On September 28, the House concurred in Senate amendments to approve House Bill 9

    (Rep. Katharine Watson, R-144) which would require primary enforcement of the seat belt
    law for drivers and passengers under the age of 18 years; place limits on the number of
    passengers for drivers under the age of 18 years who can ride in a vehicle driven by a junior
    driver (under the age of 18); and increase the number of practical driving experience (from 50 to
    65 hours) that are required before a minor who holds a learner's permit can apply for a junior
    driver's license.  The bill specifies that ten of those hours must be logged after dark and five

    must be logged during inclement weather.  The bill was approved by a vote of 188-6.  HB 9 is
    awaiting the Governor's signature.  Once signed, the bill will take effect in 60 days. 

The following announcements were made in the Pennsylvania Bulletin (Vol. 41, No. 39
) on Saturday, September 24:


  • The Index Calculation required by the "Taxpayer Relief Act" has been published. The Act 1 index is used to determine the maximum tax increase (without Court, PDE, or voter approval) that school districts can levy. The index is the average of the percentage increase in the statewide average weekly wage and the Employment Cost Index. For FY 2012-2013, the base index is 1.7 percent. The base index for FY 2011-2012 was 1.4 percent. For school districts with a market/value aid ratio greater than 0.4000, an adjusted index will be posted on the PDE website at www.education.state.pa.us.


     For additional information on the Act 1 Index and the "Taxpayer Relief Act," click here.


  • The new Standardized Arrest and Conviction Form for current and prospective employees of public and private schools, intermediate units and area vocational technical schools to report any arrest or conviction for certain offenses, as required by Section 111 (j) of Act 24 of 2011, has been published.


The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently announced that three Pennsylvania school districts(Southern Lehigh School District, Williamsport Area School District and North Pocono School District) have been recognized by U.S. Department of Agriculture for serving healthy choices for school lunch and encouraging students to participate in physical activity as part of their involvement with the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) initiative.


Schools that would like more information about HUSSC can visit Food and Nutrition Service website at www.teamnutrition.usda.gov, or by contacting PDE's Division of Food and Nutrition at 1-800-331-0129.


The U.S. Department of Education has awarded more than $12.9 million to 34 colleges and universities under theStrengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which has been established to help postsecondary schools expand their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds for planning, faculty development, and the development and improvement of academic programs aimed at ensuring students complete college.  Three Pennsylvania colleges have been awarded SIP grants: Cedar Crest College (Allentown); Immaculata University (Immaculata); and PA Highlands Community College (Johnstown).  For a complete list of grantees and their award amounts, click here


Join arts and education leaders from across the state and nation to participate in discussions about public policy issues related to the arts in Pennsylvania's schools and communities at the Arts and Education Symposium on Thursday, October 13 from 9:00 AM- 5:00 PM at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.


The Symposium is sponsored by the Education Policy Leadership Center and co-sponsored by Citizens for Arts in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Historical Organizations, Pennsylvania Art Education Association, and Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.  


In addition to nine concurrent workshops, keynote speakers for this event will be:

         Dr. Jonathon Katz, Chief Executive Office of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

         Dr. Mary Ann Stankiewicz, Professor of Art Education, thePennsylvania State University. 


For additional information and to register online, please click here.

EPLC will host a Community Forum about the arts and education at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA on Tuesday, October 4.  Attendance is free and all are encouraged to attend, but RSVP to reserve a seat by emailing [email protected].  Registration and refreshments begin at 6:00 p.m. and program runs from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

EPLC will host its 2011 Education Policy Leadership Awards Luncheon on Thursday, October 27, 2011.  EPLC will present the 2011 Edward Donley Education Policy Leadership Award to Robert E. Feir and also present the EPLC Partner Awards and the EPLC Leadership Program Alumni Awards.  Click here for information on purchasing tickets and advertising opportunities.

Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) is sponsoring Music Education Advocacy Day on October 4 in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.   PMEA is an important partner with EPLC's Arts and Education Initiative.  The event's website is: www.mypls.com/Admin/PMEADOTH/tabid/1326/Default.aspx.  The tentative schedule includes a press conference, concert performances and legislative visits.


The League of Woman Voters Greater Pittsburgh (LWVGP) will hold a series of meetings on the history of the federal role in education, academic standards and assessments (including common core standards) on the following dates:


  October 6   - Mount Lebanon Public Library (12:30 PM - 2:30 PM)

  October 14 - Squirrel Hill Public Library (1:30 PM-3:30 PM)

  October 19 - Northland Public Library (10:00 AM to noon) 


These meetings are open to all interested individuals.  Results from these meetings and similar ones of League of Woman Voters nationwide will help develop a position on these issues.  A second set of meetings focusing on funding and equity in education will be held November 3, 11 and 16.  For more information, click here


The House will reconveneon Monday, October 3 at 1:00 PM.  The Senate will reconvene on Monday, October 17 at 1:00 PM. 

Music Education Advocacy Day sponsored by PA Music Education Association in Harrisburg.
See event website at www.mypls.com/Admin/PMEADOTH/tabid/1326/Default.aspx

EPLC and the Arts in Education Initiative (AEI) will host a community forum on the arts and education in Pittsburgh, PA on Tuesday, October 4 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.  For more details, click here.

The PA State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention (SICC) will hold a meeting on October 6 at the PaTTAN office in Harrisburg from noon until 3:00 PM.  Video conferencing will be available at the PaTTAN offices in Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, Intermediate Unit 9 (Seneca Highlands), Intermediate Unit 4 (Midwestern), and Intermediate Unit 17 (BlaST-Williamsport).  To view the agenda for this upcoming meeting, click here.

EPLC and AEI will hold a day long Arts and Education Symposium at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, October 13.  Click here for more information and online registration. 

For information on upcoming events, please visit www.eplc.org and click on "Events Calendar".
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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 the Education Policy and Leadership Center is to encourage and support the development and implementation of effective state-level education policies to improve student learning in grades P-12, increase the effective operation of schools, and enhance educational opportunities for citizens of all ages.