Jan. 18, 2015 – By Angie Mason, York Daily Record – With the appointment of a York City School District receiver put on hold, many are now looking at how Gov.-elect Tom Wolf could intervene when he takes office next week.
Dec. 1, 2014 – by David Lapp, Education Law Center – Pennsylvania’s calculation for funding special education in charter schools is broken. In Philadelphia, special education tuition paid by the District to charter schools has doubled from $11,000 per student to over $23,000 per student in just 12 years. During the same period, special education revenue to the District from the state stagnated at under $5,000 per student.
Nov. 24, 2014 – The Education Law Center submitted a letter to Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq urging her to reject the latest round of cyber charter school applications based on the continued lack of accountability for these schools, which have shown poor academic results, excessive amounts of student turnover, and periodic criminal fiscal negligence.
Nov. 16, 2014 – By Jennifer Desmarais, Special to LNP – As a school board member in the School District of Lancaster, I am proud to serve my community by attending monthly meetings, participating on district task forces, and being visible in our school community.
Nov. 15, 2014 – Editorial, Delaware County Daily Times – It is an unfair, unlevel playing field. That’s not especially new. Even outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett, who became the poster boy for an out-of-whack education funding system courtesy of brutal cuts enacted in his first years in office, agrees.
Nov. 11, 2014 – Kristen Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer – Alleging that Pennsylvania’s education-funding system is “irrational and inequitable,” a group of parents, school districts, and organizations on Monday sued the commonwealth, saying it had failed to provide all students with an appropriate education.
Nov. 11, 2014 – By Robert Swift, Scranton Times-Tribune – A Wilkes-Barre mother joined school districts and advocacy groups Monday in a lawsuit calling for an end to sharp inequities in funding for public education throughout Pennsylvania.
Nov. 10, 2014 – Peter Jackson, Associated Press – Public school advocates sued top state officials Monday, alleging that an irrational system of distributing state subsidies is creating academic inequities and depriving many students of the “thorough and efficient” public education system that the state constitution guarantees.
Nov. 10, 2014 – By Patrick Kerkstra, Philadelphia Magazine – Seventeen years ago, the city and School District of Philadelphia filed suit against Pennsylvania, accusing it of failing to provide sufficient education funding in violation of the state Constitution, which obligates the state legislature to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education.”
UPDATED July 22, 2014
Governor Corbett’s 2014-15 state budget does little to address Pennsylvania’s systemic public education funding crisis.
“This budget was a missed opportunity for the legislature and the Governor — and a loss for public school students,” said Rhonda Brownstein, Executive Director of the Education Law Center. “There were several options for our state leaders to not only provide adequate funding to our schools, but to also enact cost-saving measures.”
The General Assembly pursued a fix to the state’s special education funding system that would have addressed the flawed approach to providing funding to students with disabilities in public schools — both charter-operated and district-run. The fix would have more accurately calculated costs and aligned resources to those costs, providing a significant savings to school districts throughout the state and ensuring that children with disabilities receive the services they need. Instead, the whims of political insiders thwarted that effort — resulting in a job half done that does not fix the admitted problem.
The effort to secure a consistent state revenue source for schools was also abandoned, leaving the legislature and Gov. Corbett to fall back on one-time funding schemes and last-minute deals to create a patchwork of public school funding that remains completely disconnected from the cost to provide all students with the necessary resources to meet the state’s academic standards.
“We cannot continue to rely, year after year, on political horse-trading and last-minute budgeting contortions that, ultimately, leave our schools lacking basic resources and leave our communities struggling to make up the difference with local revenues,” said Brownstein. “Our public schools require, and deserve, a thorough and efficient system — an actual system — of education funding as mandated by our state’s constitution.”
May 23, 2014 – Philadelphia Daily News Editorial – The death of any child is a tragedy. The death of two children who fell ill while at school is unspeakable. And while the cause of death for a first-grader at Andrew Jackson School has not been determined, both cases demand that we take a hard look at the impact the district’s budget realities may be having on children.
March 9, 2014 – David Lapp, Special to the Sunday News – Significant problems exist with Pennsylvania’s current charter school policy, and we agree with state Sen. Lloyd Smucker that charter school reform is needed in the commonwealth.
January 6, 2014 – Kevin McCorry, Newsworks
- Fewer teachers. No school building. No heating bill. Same cost. You’d think Pennsylvania’s 16 cyber-charter schools, which teach home-based students via the Web, would spend a lot less per student than bricks and mortar schools. Not so.
November 23, 2013 – By Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Inquirer – The Education Law Center on Thursday urged the Pennsylvania Department of Education to deny applications for six new cyber charter schools, saying the cyber charter model doesn’t work.
November 4, 2013 – By Kathy Matheson and Marc Levy, Associated Press – A bill to overhaul Pennsylvania’s charter school law would gut local control of the alternative schools by eliminating enrollment caps and giving universities the power to authorize new charters, opponents said Monday.
October 16, 2013 – by Kevin McCorry –
The Philadelphia School District has at least 20,000 evaluated special-needs students. Each year, the district pays millions in legal fees and lawsuit settlements based on its failure, both proven and alleged, to meet their needs. This year, due to budget cuts, the district shed close to 3,000 staff members.
October 01, 2013 – by Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer –
Its music program was eliminated, 12 percent of its teaching force laid off, and its junior high sports program was slashed. “Cuts at the state level just kill us,” said Jim Duffy, superintendent of the Fannett-Metal School District, a small system in south-central Pennsylvania.