Here are some highlights of the panel discussion at Arcadia U. regarding the Pennsylvania budget for education:
Pennsylvania is spending more on prisons than higher education.
Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of states for the share of public education support by the state. As a result, local property taxes cover a higher share of school expenses. The state budget keeps the state share low.
The proposed block grant funding of schools takes away formula funding for schools and reduces the predictability of school funding. This cripples the ability of a school districts to plan and exposes special education to funds.
Cuts to public services that support basic education and communities with high poverty like mental health services are severe.
Cuts in education funding disproportionately hurt poorer school districts.
The proposed elimination of reimbursements to school districts for certain charter schools funding will cripple districts with charter schools.
Public schools need to be more accountable for educating students.
Aggressively Move Forward on Sewer Upgrades-The Commissioners adopted a plan to accelerate sewer replacement and relining work and cut about one year from the prior plan in January.
Aggressively Move Forward with Flood Control Projects-A meeting with DEP Waterways Division was held to get the Glenside Flood Control Project under construction in February. New flood control designs that are unimpeded by SPS will be completed by DEP in April for review by Cheltenham. Short term flood reduction measures were adopted by the Board of Commissioners in February.
Engage Army Corps of Engineers-Negotiations continue with ACOE. The ACOE will make a presentaton at the 11 April Public Works Committee meeting.
Reduce Real Estate Tax Gap- An ordinance to attract new housing/new taxpayers on sites of 5 acres or more was approved by the Board of Commissioners in February.
Revaulate Recycling and Trash Collections
Free Old York Road and Church from Public Works Facility
Adopt Anti Discrimination Ordinance-Adopted 15 February.
Adopt Equal Opportunity in Contracting Resolution-Adopted 21 March.
Adopt Sustainability Goals-Draft sustainability goals were adopted by the Sustainability Committee in January 2012 and then by the Public Works Committee of the Board of Commissioners in February 2012.
Adopt Sustainability Budget
Increase Physical Activity of Residents-Cheltenham advertised the walk and run to support the Glenside 4th of July parade.