State news roundup for June 2, 2012

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by Tim Reed

Virginia – Kinship Care Bill vetoed by McDonnell

From the Washington Post

If life is falling apart for Mom or Dad, and Grandma steps up and takes in little Johnny and Jane, she can’t send them to her neighborhood school without a court order.

[…]

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) recently vetoed a bill that would have made it easier for those providing so-called “kinship care” to enroll children in nearby public schools. He did so at the urging of both the Republican House speaker and a liberal Northern Virginia Democrat who does not usually have much sway with the governor.

Senate Bill 217, sponsored by Sen. George L. Barker (D-Fairfax), would have required caretakers to demonstrate to schools only that the parents had granted them power of attorney for educational purposes. It passed the General Assembly by wide, bipartisan margins.

McDonnell sought to amend the bill earlier in the session, so that in cases of informal kinship arrangements, schools may require that the caretakers obtain a court order instead. After the General Assembly rejected that amendment last week, the governor vetoed the entire bill.

Click through to read the complete article at The Washington Post and find out more about this Virginia Education Association supported bill.

Illinois – No vote on TRS, SURS pensions; Senate approves “reform” bill

There will be no vote on pension cutting legislation that would impact participants and retirees in the TRS and SURS systems.

But it was clear from statements from Gov. Quinn and from the sponsor of SB1673, House Republican Leader Tom Cross, that pension reform for those and other state pension systems remains a top priority.

  
A couple of hours after Cross announced the TRS/SURS bill would not move during the session, which is scheduled to end at midnight May 30, the State Senate passed and sent to the House legislation that called for the same sort of pension cuts to be applied to members of the state employee (SURS) and General Assembly (GARS) systems. The House adjourned without considering it.

Gov. Quinn indicated a special session would be scheduled, following meetings next week with the legislative leaders on how to proceed with “pension reform.”

Get all the latest updates on pensions in Illinois by visiting the Illinois Education Association.

Pennsylvania – Recent survey shows a growing crisis in public schools

A recent survey of school district officials [ed note: pdf link]confirms what educators, parents, and students already know: State budget cuts are hurting our schools – and things are getting worse.

Members of the PA Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the PA Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) participated in an annual school budget survey in April 2012.

According to the survey:

  • 60 percent of school districts are increasing class size
  • 58 percent are cutting art, music, physical education, electives, and advanced placement courses
  • 46 percent are cutting field trips and extracurricular activities including sports
  • 75 percent are furloughing employees or cutting positions through attrition
  • 19 percent are cutting early childhood programs like full-day kindergarten
  • 37 percent will reduce tutoring and extended learning opportunities that provide extra help for struggling students
  • 34 percent will eliminate summer school programs that provide students the opportunity to make up academic credit that will allow them to graduate on time.

Get the full story at PSEA.org.

North Dakota – North Dakota Education Association newsletter now available

The newest North Dakota Education News is now available. Click here to download the newsletter [ed note: pdf link] and find out about Measure 2, UniServ restructuring, summer leadership conferences and more!

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