Pennsylvania Education and Politics Review – Week of 9/29/13

The gubernatorial candidates didn’t make much news on the education front this week. So I’m going to highlight one recent story and one older story about efforts in the state legislature to change the way that communities supervise and pay for their education systems.

House passes bill to allow for flexibility in local funding: The state House approved a bill that would allow local school boards to raise certain taxes such as business taxes, sales taxes, or wage taxes in order to reduce property taxes. The passage came after the House rejected a different bill that would have eliminated property taxes altogether and replaced them with the alternate taxes. The difference between the bills is that local boards can choose to replace property taxes, but are not required to do so. The bill still needs to pass the Senate. The bill does not establish a funding formula for the state.

State senator wants to create elected Philadelphia school board: State Senator Mike Stack has proposed that the School Reform Commission be replaced by a nine-member board elected by Philadelphia voters. The Mayor would gain the power to appoint the district’s superintendent. The board would not have any power over funding, with control over local taxes remaining with City Council and the Mayor.