[The following is in response to the news that folks in Harrisburg are challenging school districts over their need, indeed responsibility, to maintain effective budget fund balances and reserve accounts.]

…the public knew how much of their tax dollars were being squandered by for-profit charter school operators who use their profits to buy Harrisburg, lock, stock, and barrel.  Or they knew that charter schools weren’t required to limit their fund balances, even if their costs of operations (as for cyber schools) were far below the costs of brick-and-mortar schools with sports and arts and other wholesome opportunities.  Or they knew that charter schools were “double dipping” on their state social security benefit reimbursement.

…Harrisburg would come clean on how horribly underfunded the Pennsylvania State Retirement programs have been for the last 30+ years.  So much so that local districts are being forced to raise taxes to fill in the gaping hole created by the underfunded pension system.  And further…if only Harrisburg would show you how it is sharpening its axe for the time when schools, deprived of state funding and unable to push the burden onto their citizens any longer, begin to collapse, leaving only the kind and generous charter school management organizations [not] to pick up the pieces.

…children had the kind of clout that adults and, in particular, the millionaires and billionaires that are funding political campaigns against them and their right to a high quality education, because charter schools, especially cyber charter schools, as a group underperform regular public schools.  [And by the way, private schools aren't required to publish their data at all.]

…there were angry mobs outside the offices of these Harrisburg attackers, or folks who remembered that America was built up strong by our public school system, or folks who woke up and realized they were being sold out for the false promise of competition and school choice, neither of which is real or will improve student performance.

If only…

[The following is my report to the Board regarding EASTERN Center for Arts and Technology at our legislative meeting.  These comments are provided for your reference only.  They are based on information I gather publicly and do not represent any official position by EASTERN or the School District of Cheltenham Township.]

The board approved the law firm of Wisler Pearlstine [same as Cheltenham] as the new solicitor and Dreslin and Co., Inc. as the local auditor, both beginning in July.

EASTERN is evaluating five potential new programs in the areas of administrative assistant or office manager, biotechnology technician, engineering technician, health information or medical records technician, and veterinary technician.  Recommendations are being developed for the 2013-2014 school year.

A senior in EASTERN’s culinary arts program recently received a one-year scholarship to the German Congress-Bundestag Vocational Youth Exchange Program, a program in which students live and work in Germany for one year after high school graduation.  This is the third EASTERN student to win this prestigious scholarship in the past 10 years.

Here’s something that folks may not know.  EASTERN accepts donations of many items to support their programs.  These can include equipment or materials for the various trade programs, donations of consummables for cosmetology or culinary arts, even vehicles for the automotive programs.

a quick bit of information.  According to the state of Washington, for every dollar spent on secondary career and technical education students, federal and state governments will receive seven dollars back in Social Security, Medicare and federal and state taxes.  That’s a pretty good deal.

Hopefully, some of you saw the article in Time Magazine on the strong state of technical schools in the U.S.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dr. Davis and the staff of the high school for their support this year in enabling EASTERN to be a successful part of the lives of many students.

In closing, EASTERN provides our students with unique opportunities to pursue career preparation courses in harmony with the core academic subjects.  For more information, visit www.eastech.org.