Educators worry the guv’s education reform bill could drain cash from local schools

By James McGinnis Staff writer Calkins Media, Inc. Local reaction to Gov. Tom Corbett’s state education reform plan can best be summarized in a single question: Will it drain cash from local districts? Corbett earlier this week promoted taxpayer-paid vouchers for low-income students in failing schools, changes to how charter schools are established, tying student performance to teacher evaluations and expanding tax credits for businesses that fund scholarships. Centennial School District board member Mark Miller is unhappy with Corbett’s plan. It would divert another billion dollars of education funding away from students and give it to a privileged few, Miller said. “The answer is not ‘rescuing’ a small percentage of students from failing schools, rather to fix those failing schools to serve the best interests of each and every student,” Miller wrote in an email. The governor must also recognize his responsibility to fix the state’s Charter School Law, he wrote. The district will host a county-wide PTO meeting in the William Tennent High School auditorium to discuss education and its funding with members of the House Education Committee at … Continue reading

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Congressman Fitzpatrick Details Education Initiative

Congressman Fitzpatrick Details Education Initiative The grand opening of the new high school provided a backdrop for Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick and School Director Mark B Miller to highlight some goals toward creating more education opportunities for all students, including those with special needs. PATCH Video by Brad Seecof  http://uppersouthampton.patch.com/articles/congressman-fitzpatrick-details-education-initiative#video-7794153

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A School Choice Is Made

For release: Immediate Horace Spencer III is only 14 years old and entering high school in September, but; in the midst of some legislators jockeying to enact “school choice” through unproven voucher programs and rapid expansion of charter schools, Horace had an important school choice of his own. Horace is already 6’8” tall, wears a size 17 sneaker. He is ranked #2 in the nation among incoming freshmen in the class of 2015. Despite several options and offers from private and parochial schools, Horace chose to attend William Tennent High School, his neighborhood public school.   Coach Rick Barrett has been a strong supporter of public education over his 27 years coaching many standout players. Horace Spencer, Jr. wants to be sure his son has something other than basketball in his life, even though he likes Horace III’s prospects to reach the NBA. Mr. Spencer knows anything can happen over the next eight years and wants a strong foundation in learning as a backup. School Director and KeySEC Co-Chair, Mark B Miller, explained how he met with the student, father and coach to … Continue reading

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Increase Revenue, Not Taxes!

Centennial hunts for more dollars Posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 5:41 am | Updated: 7:15 am, Mon Jun 6, 2011. Centennial hunts for more dollars By Manasee Wagh Staff Writer Centennial School District is looking for fresh ideas to overcome education funding cuts without having to raise taxes or shrink programs and extracurricular activities. Officials and community members are putting their heads together to hopefully generate $2.5 million over the next two years. “The goal is to raise (the money) through community partnerships, business affiliation, sponsorships and fund raising,” said board member Mark Miller, chairman of the newly formed Alternative Revenue Committee. The committee’s first priority is paying back the $800,000 borrowed from the district’s general fund to complete construction of the William Tennent High School stadium in the 2007-08 school year. More than a dozen people have volunteered to serve on the committee, but more are needed, Miller said. He expects the committee will have between nine and 15 people from different parts of the Centennial community, including the administration, professional and support staff, community members, student government, home … Continue reading

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Miller Tops Both Tickets in Race for Region One School Board Director

Elections Miller Tops Both Tickets in Race for Region 1 School Board Director The unofficial results have cross-listed candidate Mark B. Miller taking the top spot for both parties in the only contested race in Upper Southampton. By Jennifer Mohan | Email the author | May 17, 2011     new     Preliminary results are in for the May 17 primaries. Patch Photos (1) Photos Credit Patch Add your photos & videos With all of the districts in Upper Southampton Township reporting, here are the unofficial results for the local races in Tuesday’s primary election: In the only contested race in the township, the unofficial results are as follows Centennial School Board Director Votes Percentage of Vote Republican:Mark B. Miller Flemming Godiksen David Shafter   534 288 449  42% 22.7% 35.3% Democrat:Mark B. Miller Flemming Godiksen Celina Cancelliere  274 205 230  38.6% 28.9% 32.4% Two seats are available representing Region 1 for Centennial School Board. The top two candidates will be on the ballot in November’s election. Incumbents win ballot spots Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 6:06 am | Updated: … Continue reading

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Voucher Bill Could Mean Big Losses for District

by Manassee Wagh, Bucks County Courier Times Centennial could lose more than a million dollars because of a school choice voucher bill that’s awaiting a vote in the state Senate. “The voucher bill is bringing up many challenges for Centennial,” said school board member Mark Miller at the board meeting Tuesday evening. Miller is also co-chair of the Keystone State Education Coalition, a grassroots public education advocacy group. Centennial faces a $1.29 million loss from Senate Bill 1, a taxpayer-funded tuition voucher bill, which proposes deferring public tax dollars to private and parochial schools in Pennsylvania. That’s in addition to losses expected because of changing state funding formulas, Miller said. “The amount each district gets is based on several variables tied to the actual amount of funds we receive from the state. We will lose more than New Hope-Solebury, Palisades, Council Rock and Central Bucks combined,” said Miller. Terry Madonna School Voucher Poll View more presentations from Mark Miller. The school board plans to discuss possible repercussions of the bill and state budget cuts at a finance committee meeting planned … Continue reading

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Corbett Imposes Steep Cuts to Education

http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/local/courier_times_news/opinion/guest/corbett-s-cuts/article_d9df25b4-2042-5523-875e-90b2824a460b.html Schools underwrite campaign promises (Guest Opinion by Mark B Miller) Our governor has much explaining to do for slashing $1 billion of education funding from the next state budget. His administration cannot be blind to the fact that removing $550 million will result in an additional tax burden for residents of Bucks County (and elsewhere) by forcing some area school districts to increase taxes beyond the Act I limit. Likewise, pulling all those millions out of higher education will make it difficult for even high-income families to pay college tuition at state institutions. The proposed cuts are massive, more than $30 million in Bucks County alone. We also face potential losses of federal funding after reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act aka “No Child Left Behind” and the Child Nutrition Act. The Child Nutrition Act has increased funding, though greater amounts of money are being pushed from suburban school districts to pay for free and reduced lunch in urban school districts like Philadelphia, Allentown, Pittsburgh, Erie, etc. I’m curious how Gov. Corbett can insist on giving a … Continue reading

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CSD Honored for Advanced Placement Gains

Centennial School District Named to AP® Achievement List by the College Board for Significant Gains in Advanced Placement® Access and Student Performance 388 U.S. Public School Districts Across the Nation Are Honored Centennial School District is one of fewer than 400 school districts in the nation being honored by the College Board with a place on its AP® Achievement List for opening AP classroom doors to a significantly broader pool of students, while maintaining or improving the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher. From 2008 to 2010, Centennial has increased the number of students participating in AP from 136 to 303, while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher, the score typically needed to earn college credit, from 73% in 2008 to 81% in 2010. “We are absolutely delighted to receive this recognition,” stated Dr. Jenny Cressman, Superintendent of Schools.  “Our goal is to prepare all of our students to be able to take AP coursework and thrive in an academically rigorous and enriching AP environment. The Centennial community has a … Continue reading

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VOUCHERS – Your Tax Dollars With ZERO Accountability!

Here is an instant primer on Senator Piccola and Williams pet project of providing School Choice through “vouchers” which can take more than $1,000,000,000 more dollars out of Pennsylvania School Districts by 2013-14. This website offers a quick primer on SB1. Click Here (Feel free to contact me with additional questions and concerns.) – MBMiller

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PASBO – Annual Conference (Pittsburgh, PA – March 15-18)

At the Thursday session of the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, the big topic of discussion was Governor Corbett’s announcement of deep cuts to school budgets and the consequences to every school district across the Commonwealth. With funding rolled back to below 2008 levels many school districts will be forced to cut budgets through drastic measures, including increasing class size, eliminating programs, reducing staff, charging participation fees for athletics, curtailing services, etc…  Invited as a guest speaker, I presented three consecutive mini-workshops proposing ways school districts can work to increase revenue (without raising taxes) as an alternative to cutting expenses beyond prudent levels. Various techniques included business affiliation and community partnerships, seeking grants for energy conservation, profit from energy generation, effective use of technology, municipal joint ventures, and; creation of district operated cyber academies as an alternative to the high cost of sending students to cyber charter schools. A copy of the presentation is available by clicking here. Centennial School District was well represented at PASBO. Our new Director of Business Administration, Chris Berdnik, participated in the continuing education session … Continue reading

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