Educators, administrators pan state assessments at House hearing

Educators, administrators pan state assessments at House hearing

The House Education Committee held a marathon hearing Wednesday getting input on state education assessments from frontline players who deliver and develop the tests. Most testifiers panned the state assessments as costly, unnecessary, and misapplied.

The committee’s aim was not to take testimony on any specific bill, but to get a ground-level understanding of what the tests do, how they’re viewed, and whether students are prepared for them.

“What we wanted to hear today is what exactly we Pennsylvania are required to do in terms of testing as far as the federal government requirements are concerned, what’s been going on at PDE and the Board of Education, but also to hear from different teachers, superintendents, and board members as to exactly what’s going on in each of the districts,” said Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York). “Let’s hear from individuals who are involved in the testing day in and day out to give us an explanation.”

It was noted the topic of state assessments has drawn a lot of interest lately, particularly in terms of preparedness for the exams after the adoption of Pennsylvania CORE standards in 2013.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views

House property tax reform plan passes key House floor vote

Tuesday, the House approved a measure by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) that would raise Pennsylvania’s income and sales tax while providing dollar-for-dollar property tax reduction.

The proposal was adopted as an amendment to Rep. Matt Gabler’s (R-Elk) House Bill 504 by a 109 to 86 vote that crossed party lines.

The proposal calls for increasing Pennsylvania’s personal income tax by 0.63 percent to 3.7 percent while raising the sales and use tax a full percentage point to seven percent in order to earn an estimated $5 billion in additional revenue to be dedicated to property tax relief. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Compromise Saylor property tax reform amendment could be considered by House next week

Compromise Saylor property tax reform amendment could be considered by House next week

According to Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), prime sponsor of the lead property tax reform proposal in the House, his legislation will hopefully be considered by the full House as an amendment to a bill on the House floor sometime next week.

“We have so many moving parts now in trying to get to a compromise with the governor, I think it’s easier to just do it on the floor,” he told The PLS Reporter.

At the end of April, Rep. Saylor’s House Bill 860 was pulled from consideration in the House Finance Committee as the Wolf administration requested more time to work with Rep. Saylor on the bill.

Since that time, Rep. Saylor reported he has met with the Wolf administration a number of times on working toward a compromise proposal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
Property tax reform bill still on for May vote despite being pulled from committee agenda

Property tax reform bill still on for May vote despite being pulled from committee agenda

A scheduled vote Tuesday on Rep. Stan Saylor’s (R-York) much anticipated property tax reform proposal, House Bill 860, did not come to fruition as the legislation as pulled at the request of the Wolf administration with cooperation with House Republican leadership.

Despite the bill being pulled from the committee’s agenda Tuesday, the legislation is still on track to get a full floor vote in early May.

“We had a timeframe to move a bill in May on property tax reform and we are still on that timeline,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana). “Whether the bill came out of committee today or the first week in May is really indifferent."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
House Democrats sound off on budget, property tax reform

House Democrats sound off on budget, property tax reform

House Democrats are already chalking up a win in their column for this budget cycle: Being included in the process.

“The good news is, unlike the last four years, House Democrats have been meeting with the governor,” said Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny). “That’s a welcomed change and it’s going well.”

He also said the caucus leadership is excited to see Rep. Stan Saylor’s (R-York) property tax legislation get a committee vote this week as it puts a vehicle in place to input common-ground findings on the issue.

“It’s an indication and a sign that we can hopefully find some common ground on the property tax issue and the rest of the budget issues,” he stated. 

Monday, April 20, 2015/Author: Jason Gottesman
Categories: News and Views
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