Gov. Wolf Acts to Ensure Charter Schools Better Serve Students and Taxpayers

first_img Education,  Press Release Allentown, PA – Recognizing Pennsylvania’s flawed and outdated charter school law is one of the worst in the nation, Governor Tom Wolf is taking executive action, overhauling regulations, and will propose legislation to comprehensively reform the law. The governor outlined his vision that will strengthen charter school quality, accountability and transparency to control costs and improve outcomes for students.“Pennsylvania’s charter school law is unfair for students, parents, school districts, and taxpayers,” said Governor Wolf. “While many charter schools are succeeding, others, especially some cyber charter schools, are underperforming and we are not doing enough to hold them accountable to the taxpaying public and the children they serve.“Today I’m announcing comprehensive charter school reform through executive action, regulation, and legislation. These changes will level the playing field for all taxpayer-funded public schools, strengthen the accountability and transparency of charter and cyber charter schools, and better serve all students.”Brick-and-mortar charter and cyber charter schools, and for-profit companies that manage many of them, are not held to the same ethical and transparency standards of traditional public schools. Despite the rising costs of charter schools to school districts and property taxpayers, school districts and state government have limited authority to hold charter schools accountable.The poor academic performance of some charter schools is also a concern. A recent report from Stanford University found overwhelmingly negative results from Pennsylvania’s cyber schools and called for the commonwealth to take urgent action.Governor Wolf’s proposal promotes innovation and choice, while ensuring that charter schools are providing a high-quality education and meeting the same standards Pennsylvanians expect from traditional public schools.Executive ActionsGovernor Wolf is tasking the Department of Education (PDE) with developing regulations to achieve the following:Access to High-Quality Education for All StudentsAllow school districts to limit student enrollment at charters that do not provide a high-quality, equitable education to students.Require transparent charter school admission and enrollment policies that do not discriminate based on intellectual or athletic ability, race/ethnicity, gender, or disability, among other student characteristics.Transparency and Accountability for All School LeadershipHold charter schools and their operators to the same transparency standards as school districts because they are public schools and receive more than $1.8 billion in state and property tax dollars annually.Require that charter school Board of Trustees and operating companies– like school district School Boards – are free from conflicts of interest and prohibit them from making decisions that provide a financial benefit to themselves, friends, and/or family members.Require charter schools to use sound fiscal management, provide regular financial audits to state regulators, publicly bid contracts for supplies and services, use fair contracting practices, and engage their communities.Provide greater oversight over charter school management companies, the businesses that often profit at the expense of Pennsylvania students and families.Establish a model state application to start a new charter school or renew an existing charter school that provides school districts with comprehensive information on how the school will be run and allow for rigorous analysis.Fair and Predictable Funding for All Public SchoolsEstablish a clear process that requires charters to accurately document their costs.Prevent charters from over charging districts and taxpayers for the educational services they provide.Accountability on Behalf of TaxpayersInitiate a fee-for-service model to cover the department’s costs associated with implementing the charter school law.Recoup taxpayer costs for thousands of hours of currently free services that the Department provides to charter schools when it reviews applications, processes millions of payments, and provides legal and administrative support.Comprehensive Charter School Reform LegislationIn addition to executive action, the governor will propose comprehensive charter school reform legislation containing the regulatory changes and would:Establish performance standards that hold charter schools accountable for the educational outcomes of students and a moratorium on new cyber charter schoolsCap student enrollment in low performing cyber charter schools until outcomes improve.Require charter management companies be subject to the Right to Know Act, State Ethics Act, and post employee salaries on PDE’s website, similar to requirements already in place for public school districts.Create fair, predictable, and equitable funding for school districts, including in the areas of special education funding and cyber charter tuition payments.Establish a charter school funding commission to make recommendations on additional charter school funding reforms.“We have some high-quality charter schools in our commonwealth and my proposal holds charters accountable to the same standards we set for traditional public schools. Through hard work and bipartisan compromise in Harrisburg, we have achieved pension reform and liquor reform. It’s time to reform the charter school law. That’s good for every child, family, and taxpayer in Pennsylvania.”The governor announced charter school reform at press conferences today in Allentown and in Pocono Summit, Monroe County. The Allentown School District’s structural budget deficit cannot be fixed without charter school reform.“Before opening the doors, a potential charter school must demonstrate community support, academic innovation and financial stability. Once the charter school is up and running, though, meaningful oversight seems to go away,” said state Rep. Peter Schweyer. “There isn’t enough accountability on how tax dollars are spent, how the kids are being taught or if they’re even learning at all. Governor Wolf’s executive actions are a big step forward to bring about meaningful oversight to protect kids in charter schools.”“One out of every six dollars spent by the Allentown School District goes to educating kids at charter schools – an increase of over 2000 percent in twenty years,” said state Rep. Mike Schlossberg. “This inequity is wildly unfair to our students, taxpayers and teachers. These moves will help control costs and increase educational opportunities for all Allentown students. I fully support these moves and appreciate the governor for having the courage to stand up for our students and taxpayers.” SHARE Email Facebook Twitter August 13, 2019center_img Gov. Wolf Acts to Ensure Charter Schools Better Serve Students and Taxpayerslast_img read more

Keva managing director resigns in wake of benefits scandal

first_imgOn 10 November, Finnish media reported that Ailus’s “fringe benefits” included two luxury flats in central Helsinki and a brand new BMW.The reports alleged she failed to declare the full value of the flats to the tax office, and that “tender rules had been bent” in the acquisition of the BMW.When starting at Keva in 2009, Ailus reportedly requested to live in a €2.3m flat and last year requested an increase of €6,100 on her monthly salary of €18,900.Last week, local media also came out with claims that Ailus received child benefits from Finland and Norway simultaneously for eight years, which Norwegian officials are now claiming back.Iltalehti newspaper also reported Ailus had flown her friend to Lapland to accompany her on a work-related trip and charged Keva for his tickets.Ailus had allegedly also charged her family’s moving costs on Keva twice.Ailus maintained she was unaware she continued to be paid child benefit after she moved away from Norway.Although she said she would give up the flat in exchange for an increase in her salary, she also pointed out that she understood that, to “low-earning municipality workers and pensioners, the fringe benefits of pension fund management might seem excessive”.What is seen as the last straw in the evolution of the scandal is the meeting Ailus organised for her staff at Keva last Wednesday where she declared she had no intention of resigning, although Keva’s chairwoman, Laura Räty, announced that she no longer trusted Ailus.IPE asked Ailus for a comment last week, but she did not return the call.Chairwoman Räty told the media late Friday night that Ailus’s resignation was based on a lack of clarity in a range of issues.“There were unclarities in receiving social security, applying and interpreting competition law and in making acquisitions,” she said.“Issues like this have nothing to do with what kind of benefits are moderate and appropriate.”The scandal is likely to pave the way for ending political appointments in Finland.Ailus was appointed as managing director of the scheme in 2009 out of a group of 20 applicants.Her appointment has been described as political, as Ailus is a member of the Centre Party and arguably had less experience with the pensions industry than several other applicants. The managing director of Keva, the €35.3bn local government pension institution of Finland, resigned late on Friday night in the wake of a scandal focusing on her fringe benefits and personal expenses.Keva insures 1.3m Finns working, or having retired, from jobs at the local government, the state and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.Merja Ailus’s resignation agreement states that the details of the discussions between Ailus and Keva’s board late Friday night – i.e. the actual reasons why Ailus agreed to resign – remain confidential.However, the board’s decision to let Ailus go and pay her a compensation of €303,500 was based on a “lack of trust”, which emerged among board members after Finnish media accused Ailus of charging the institution for some of her personal expenses, failing to inform the tax office of the full value of her employee-sponsored flat and receiving child benefits from two countries simultaneously.last_img read more

Vervoer settles with Goldman Sachs over fiduciary management dispute

first_imgPensioenfonds Vervoer, the pension fund for the Dutch transport industry, has settled out of court with Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) in a long-running dispute concerning GSAM’s performance as the scheme’s former fiduciary asset manager.  In July 2012, Vervoer issued a legal claim in the High Court in London against GSAM over a dispute about investments in a portable alpha structure and the implementation of an increased investment in global high-yield credit.In a statement released today, Vervoer said: “The parties have now reached an agreement through which the dispute has been settled to the satisfaction of both parties.”It said the terms and conditions of the settlement were confidential, and that, “accordingly, neither party will comment on them any further”. The lawsuit was scheduled to be heard in the High Court early next week.Vervoer decided to terminate its fiduciary management agreement with GSAM in 2010 over dissatisfaction with its performance.In 2011, it confirmed that Robeco would in future act as its fiduciary manager, and in July 2012 the fund confirmed it would seek damages from GSAM.Vervoer’s initial court filing of late summer 2012 accused GSAM of multiple breaches of contract during the asset manager’s time as its fiduciary manager and sought damages of €250m.GSAM rejected all allegations as “mischievous and wholly unfounded” and argued that Vervoer’s complaints came with “the benefit of perfect hindsight”.last_img read more

Drewry: IMO 2020 to Fuel M&A Activity among Carriers?

first_imgFinancially vulnerable carriers could be pushed into M&A by the extra costs associated with the new low-sulphur fuel law, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.Although the rising demand and freight rates in the final quarter of 2018 helped the container shipping industry to return a profit of around USD 1.5 billion, the industry still hasn’t fully recovered from the global financial crash and the devastating losses incurred thereafter.As the deadline for the IMO 2020 mandate draws nearer carriers are inevitably getting jittery about its overall impact, Drewry said. Worries arise whether the carriers are in a position to deal with a myriad of extra associated costs, such as unrecoverable BAFs, capex costs to install scrubbers and extra funding requirement for bunker credit, among others.“Without wanting to be too alarmist, there is the potential for IMO 2020 to inspire another major carrier bankruptcy and/or trigger more defensive M&A. It could turn out that the IMO will inadvertently push industry consolidation along, closer to where it needs to be in order to achieve sustainable profitability,” Drewry said.The last round of M&A that started with the merger of Chinese carriers Cosco and CSCL in 2016 and concluded with the integration of the Japanese carriers NYK, MOL and K Line into the Ocean Network Express (ONE) in the first quarter of 2018, made some headway in the consolidation process to the extent that the leading seven carriers now control approximately three-quarters of the world’s containership fleet.However, while previous M&A has handed near-full control of the global market to a handful of lines, there is still varying degrees of competition at a trade-route level.“Even if IMO 2020 does spur another round of industry consolidation, the chances are that there will still be enough carriers left to prevent the big trades from being highly concentrated. It will require a couple of highly unlikely mega M&As to really move the dial,” Drewry concluded.last_img read more

Keppel bags nearly $96 million in new contracts

first_imgFPSO upgrade Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) has secured contracts from repeat customers worth approximately S$130 million ($95.8M) for a newbuild dredger and the modification of a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel.Keppel Shipyard; Source: KeppelThe contracts were secured through Keppel’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, Keppel FELS and Keppel Shipyard, the company said on Tuesday.Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel O&M, said, “We are pleased to secure these contracts from repeat customers as it reflects the market’s confidence in Keppel O&M’s customized solutions for newbuild vessels and FPSO conversions. This is the third newbuild dredger for Van Oord and the third FPSO project for Yinson.”The first contract is between Keppel FELS and Van Oord to build a high-specification Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD). This follows from an option granted to Van Oord based on earlier contracts entered in May 2018 for two similar dredgers.Expected to be completed in 1Q 2022, the TSHD will have a hopper capacity of 10,500m3. The dredger will be built to the requirements of classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) and will be LNG ready. The second contract is between Keppel Shipyard and Yinson Nepeta Production Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yinson Production, for the fast-track modification and upgrading of FPSO Allan. Keppel Shipyard’s scope of work includes refurbishment and life extension works, fabrication and installation of a new riser balcony, spread mooring system and helideck, as well as modification of the vessel’s topsides and marine systems.The project for Yinson is scheduled to start in 3Q 2019 with delivery expected in 1Q 2020. Upon completion, the FPSO will have a storage capacity of 700,000 barrels of oil and a processing capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day. It will be deployed in the Anyala and Madu fields, offshore Nigeria for First Exploration and Petroleum Development Co Ltd.Eirik Barclay, CEO of Yinson Offshore Production, said, “We have chosen to partner with Keppel Shipyard for this fast-track upgrade project just as the market is showing a positive trend with an increasing number of both project awards and tenders. We very much look forward to working with Keppel on this project and are confident that they, once again, can provide a high-quality, safe and on-time delivery to Yinson.”It is also worth reminding that, earlier this year, Scana Offshore received a contract award from Yinson to upgrade the FPSO Allan’s anchoring system to increase its capacity and monitor anchoring forces. The FPSO will be renamed Abigail-Joseph.Spotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.last_img read more

Boys should get HPV vaccine to protect them from throat cancers, experts say (UK)

first_imgThe Telegraph 10 July 2016Boys should be given the HPV vaccine along with girls in a bid to curb the rise in throat cancers later in life, experts say.Since 2008, girls aged 12 and 13 in the UK have been given a vaccination for the human papilloma virus (HPV), which protects them not only from genital warts but also cervical and throat cancers.But researchers want boys of the same age to be also included in the government programme.“If we want to eradicate male throat cancers – which are soaring in numbers – we need to act speedily and that means giving them the HPV vaccine we now give to girls,” Professor Mark Lawler, of Queen’s University Belfast, told the Observer.Increased levels of oral sex are partly to blame for the spread of HPV, according to experts.“Smoking and alcohol add to risks, but the fact that couples are having more and more oral sex is the main factor,” Peter Baker, campaign director of HPV Action, told the newspaper.READ MORE: read more

3 ‘thieves’ stab woman to death

first_imgILOILO City – Three suspected thieves allegedlystabbed to death a 64-year-old woman in Barangay Pandac, Pavia, Iloilo. Police investigations however showed Napawitwas seen together with the two other suspects and he was armed with a knife. “The incident was witnessed by herhusband and he identified the suspects who killed his wife,” said Tabaloc. The victim and her husband Bonifacio,66, went to their farm to graze their cow and to get a banana bunch. He admitted that before the incidenthappened, they were having a drinking session and later he went home aheadleaving Wales and  Ordanza. “Walana ako kabalo kun ano ila ginpanghimo pagakatapos kami nag inom kay nag pauli na ako, wala ko yakapatay sa tigulang ah,” said Napawit. The Pavia police immediately launched a“hot pursuit” operation after the incident that led to the arrest of the suspectsin their respective houses. When the couple arrived to their farm,they saw the three suspects – Victor Napawit, 39; Edaurdo Wales, 50; andJoebert Ordanza, 41 – stealing their banana. The victim chased the three suspects,but she was mauled and stabbed multiple times. Municipal police station chief MajorJojo Tabaloc, said the incident happened around 1:50 p.m. on March 25. On the other hand, Napawit denied hisinvolvement in the incident saying that he was already in their house. Killed was Crispina Gerbasa, a residentof the village, police said. Tabaloc said a murder case will be filedagainst the suspects who are now detained in the lockup cell of the Paviapolice station./PNlast_img read more

Wasilewski in the clear

first_img Berahino complained the Polish defender had deliberately elbowed him in the second half of Albion’s 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. But the FA said that as the incident took place while both players battled for the ball, the officials were likely to have seen it and therefore deemed it unworthy of retrospective action. Leicester defender Marcin Wasilewski will face no punishment from the Football Association over an apparent elbow on West Brom striker Saido Berahino. Press Associationlast_img

Legends speak at EHS Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony

first_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Bio Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest Postscenter_img Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at ELLSWORTH — Down the hall from the trophies at the school’s entrance and the many championship banners that adorn the gymnasium, Ellsworth High School celebrated the people who played big parts in earning those honors.Ellsworth, a small community in comparison to some of the others throughout Maine and the rest of New England, has added many of those trophies and banners over the years. Yet despite its smaller size, the city’s high school has produced athletes and coaches who have given some of the best in the state and nation a run for their money.Eleven people were inducted as members of the EHS Sports Hall of Fame’s 2017 class Saturday in the school’s auditorium. From coaches who paced the gymnasium over 50 years ago to athletes who produced memorable moments less than two decades ago, years of the city’s sports history were brought together.“For such a small town, it’s pretty remarkable how much athletic success Ellsworth has had over the years,” inductee Louie Luchini said. “I remember growing up watching some of the people being honored here today.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAmong the inductees were former players John Edes, Jack Scott and head coach Charlie Katsiaficas, three of the architects of Ellsworth’s historic boys’ basketball seasons in 1953 and 1954. In the latter of those seasons, Ellsworth, which had an enrollment of 295 students, took 3,000-student Connecticut power Hillhouse High School down to the wire in the New England regional semifinals.Katsiaficas, the team’s coach during those years, passed away in 2009, but Edes and Scott were in attendance to detail some of their fondest memories about those legendary teams. Although the Eagles were dominant when Edes and Scott were juniors and seniors, their journey there wouldn’t have happened without such an inspiring head coach.“We won three games [my first year], and then along comes Mr. Katsiaficas,” a teary-eyed Edes recalled. “What a wake-up call that was.”Brian Higgins, a member of the EHS Sports Hall of Fame’s 2017 class, hoists a plaque commemorating his 500th win Sept. 28, 2011, in Ellsworth. Higgins was the winningest coach in Maine high school soccer history with 566 wins. FILE PHOTOStuart Taylor, who coached the boys’ team to state championships in 1964 and 1966, also was inducted. So was Brian Higgins, who became the winningest coach in the history of Maine high school soccer during his 42-year coaching Ellsworth’s boys’ team.It was Taylor who first asked Higgins if he could coach soccer prior to the 1974 season. Higgins had never coached soccer before and had only taken one class on the sport at Springfield College, but as Sue Shaw, Higgins’ introductory speaker said, it was a match that was meant to be.“He studied, he researched, he took advice and he learned, and he passed all that he knew on to his teams,” said Shaw, who taught with Higgins for 28 years. “He also created soccer camps along the way that were building blocks for the program.”Higgins also took over the tennis program in 1981. As was the case with soccer, the school’s tennis program needed a boost when Higgins took the reins, and he gave it one by leading the Eagles to a boys’ state title and 14 regional championships overall in 37 years and counting as the team’s coach.“When he started at Ellsworth, there weren’t even any tennis courts,” Shaw said. “The games and practices were played on private courts with generous owners for over 15 years.”Former Ellsworth track and cross-country runner Jamie Dunn speaks during the EHS Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony Oct. 14 in Ellsworth. Dunn, who now lives in southern Maine with her husband and four children, graduated from the school in 1980. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLOther inductees detailed specific experiences that brought them back to their younger days. For Luchini, Ellsworth’s most decorated cross-country and track runner, it was taking a recruiting visit to Stanford University as a temporary reprieve during the Maine winter. For Jamie Dunn, one of the team’s top runners in the 1970s, it was using the Mill Mall for training.“I don’t know who owned [the Mill Mall] at the time, but it wasn’t a bustling place like it is today; it was empty,” Dunn said. “They would let us go in there to run and use it as a field house.”Also inducted were brothers Dick and Tim Scott, outdoor track record holder Rob Pendergist and two-sport star Becky Lock, athletes who defined Ellsworth’s sporting successes in the 1980s and 1990s. Like the athletes and coaches before and after them, they and everyone inducted were, as multiple speakers put it, “legends in their own time.”“Every great athlete is only as great as the people around them,” Luchini said. “We’ve been so lucky to be around the people we’ve met at the Ellsworth schools and in the community.” MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020last_img read more

Referees, Rau decisive in Wisconsin’s win

first_imgFinally. That’s the only word to describe the Wisconsin men’s soccer team’s first Big Ten victory of the season Saturday night, beating Michigan 2-1 at home in front of 446 fans at the McClimon Complex.One year removed from a surprising 3-0 start to the 2011 Big Ten campaign, Wisconsin (4-6-3, 1-2-0 Big Ten) struggled upon entering conference play this year. In their first two games of the Big Ten season, the Badgers were unable to score a goal, losing to Penn State 1-0 and No. 7 Indiana 2-0. Coming into the game, Michigan (4-6-1, 1-2-1) appeared the best opportunity yet for UW’s first win. Before Saturday night’s showdown, the Wolverines sat at  4-5-1 overall and had only one Big Ten win to their name.So when it came time for Saturday night’s game, head coach John Trask couldn’t stress to his players enough the importance of playing with intensity for the full 90 minutes.“We made that a focus before the game, competing for 90 minutes, every single second,” Trask said. “That has to be there. To be successful in college soccer, you have to compete, and hopefully some skills and some soccer plays develop to give you a chance to win.”Unlike in previous games, where Trask’s calls for more urgent play from the team seemed to fall on deaf ears, the Badgers played with a drive and intensity UW soccer fans haven’t had the chance to see out of the team yet this year. As a result, referee calls became a big influence on the outcome of the game.Early in the first half, after a slide by UW freshman midfielder Drew Conner took down a charging Michigan player into UW’s half, the referee called a foul. In a response that would become typical of players on both teams in the game, Conner immediately jumped up and got into a heated argument with the referee over the call resulting in a yellow card.“I came in, and it wasn’t necessarily a tackle, it was more of just a shot block,” Conner said. “It was right outside the box so I was upset that it was called, especially because I didn’t even think it was a foul.”This type of situation would become a common thread throughout the game, as the referees had to make several key decisions, or in some cases non-decisions, to determine the game.In another questionable call by the referee, junior midfielder Trevor Wheeler received a ball in Michigan’s penalty area only to be taken down by a Michigan player sliding in to kick the ball away from him. Sitting at a 1-1 tie in the 68th minute, a penalty kick decision could have given UW a chance to take the lead, but center referee Jorge Cuate decided to let play continue.Trask, who normally remains calm and sits on the team bench on the sidelines throughout the duration of the game, even jumped up out of his seat to argue with the referee about the call.“I had my little go [at the referee] there, I thought Wheeler got brought down in the box,” Trask said. “I think an important thing when a team is going through what we are going through, is that [the players] have got to see that I’m still passionate about it.”“Ultimately though, it is his call,” Trask added. “We have great referees in the Big Ten, we are very, very fortunate … we are by far the luckiest conference in the country.”Rau returns to starting lineupAfter making way for junior goalkeeper Max Jentsch to start in a 1-0 loss to UW-Milwaukee Wednesday, freshman goalkeeper Chase Rau was back in the starting 11 against Michigan Sunday.While externally this might have seemed linked to Wednesday’s loss, Trask made it clear that he has been happy with the progress both goalkeepers continue to make as Wisconsin progresses through its season.The start was also an important one personally for the Sparta, Mich., native, who faced one of his home state schools in the Wolverines.After a number of key saves throughout the game, including one long range effort by a Michigan player that Rau just managed to tip over the bar, his return to the lineup marked a confident showing by the entire UW defense.“I thought Chase came up big on a bunch of saves, he communicated all game, kept the team organized,” sophomore defender AJ Cochran said. “We knew this was a big game for him, and he came up huge for us.“Him and Max, they have been awesome all season … no matter who is out there they give us the confidence to play well, and hopefully we give them the confidence to play well.”Follow Nick on Twitterlast_img read more