October 23, 2014 |
PENNSYLVANIA'S charter-school funding formula is unfair and damaging to the Philadelphia School District, City Controller Alan Butkovitz said in a report issued yesterday. The Controller's Office conducted an analysis of the district's 86 charter schools and found that charters had a total fund balance of $117 million last year, while the district had a $68 million deficit. The report concludes that the current formula for tuition reimbursements and special education does not factor in the district's real costs or what charter schools actually spend.
October 21, 2014 |
Voters heading to the polls in November will decide a question that's been a familiar presence on state ballots: how to pay for open space. They also will be asked to decide a change to the New Jersey Constitution that would allow judges to deny bail to certain defendants - a measure Gov. Christie is pushing as part of an overhaul of the state's bail system. Currently, the constitution enshrines the right to bail for anyone charged with a crime. The open-space measure on the ballot Nov. 4 will ask voters whether to approve spending for land preservation, but differently from past questions.
October 18, 2014 |
Seven Montgomery County school superintendents testified Thursday before Pennsylvania's Basic Education Funding Commission in Collegeville, describing years of declining funds and increasing costs, program and staff cuts, and unpredictable allocations from the state. "Our financial future is bleak. We cannot continue to increase . . . this burden on the local taxpayer and our local business representatives," Hatboro-Horsham Superintendent Curtis Griffin said, calling the state funding system inequitable and unsustainable.
October 6, 2014 |
Struggling to raise cash for future pensions without bigger taxpayer bailouts, state workers' and teachers' retirement plans in the last dozen years or so have sought higher returns by betting on "alternative" investments not traded on public markets: hedge funds, real estate, private equity. Hedge-fund managers have collected billions in fees, but their returns have mostly trailed stocks in recent years. The largest U.S. pension plan, the California Public Employees Retirement System , plans to dump its $4 billion hedge-fund portfolio, citing "complexity, cost," and the difficulty of buying enough good ones.
October 1, 2014 |
With school funding a hot issue in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, an alliance of state education leaders is starting a campaign to build support for changing the way the state pays its school bills. During the yearlong campaign, which begins with a televised meeting Tuesday night at 29 intermediate units, 11 "circuit riders" - mostly retired superintendents - will attempt to build support among current superintendents, business managers, and school board members for a movement for education-funding changes, said Jim Buckheit, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators.
September 28, 2014 |
Is your college student living at home this year? You can charge your kid rent, and be paid out of the 529 college-savings plan you set up years ago. Most important: The student must be enrolled at least half-time in school. According to accounting and tax experts, withdrawals from a 529 education fund can be used to cover housing expenses even if students continue living with their parents while attending college. Some experts, such as Rosalind Sutch of Drucker & Scaccetti Certified Public Accountants/Business Advisors in Center City, say it's crucial to be careful about how you account for those expenses out of a 529 plan.
September 26, 2014 |
THE FUTURE OF the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School is unclear after a Common Pleas judge yesterday denied the school's emergency petition seeking funds from the school district. Judge Nina Wright Padilla agreed with the district's argument - and with a spring ruling by the state Supreme Court - that the district was required to fund only the 675 students enrolled at Palmer, a cap set in a 2005 agreement. There 1,290 students currently attending Palmer.
September 26, 2014 |
TRENTON - Pressure is ramping up on Gov. Christie and the Legislature to develop a long-term plan to shore up New Jersey's depleted transportation fund. For decades, the state has borrowed money to finance road and bridge repairs, instead of finding new revenue to pay for maintenance and upgrades. Now, that policy has resulted in a crisis: All revenue from the state gasoline tax is devoted to more than $1 billion in debt service, and the Transportation Trust Fund won't have enough money to last through fiscal year 2016, which begins in July.
September 22, 2014 |
Atlantic City has become a place where hedge-fund managers go to lose their shirts. Three of the four Atlantic City casinos that closed this year (or four of five, if Taj Mahal closes in November) were controlled by hedge funds that suffered deep - but difficult to measure - losses. By contrast, operators with deep experience with casinos bought Resorts and the former Trump Marina (now Golden Nugget) in 2010 and 2011. Both casinos are showing signs of turning the corner - although the Atlantic City market overall remains far from settled.
September 21, 2014 |
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Citing increased costs and the desire to create a business innovation program, Pennsylvania State University will seek a 6 percent increase in state funding next year. President Eric Barron, speaking at a board of trustees meeting Friday, called the request a "modest increase" aimed in large part at creating a "strategic partnership" with the state to bring business leaders to campus to help guide ideas developed by student researchers into the marketplace. The board-approved request of $307 million represents an increase of $17 million over last year.