Education update: Penn State paychecks, virtual schools and budget watch |

Education update: Penn State paychecks, virtual schools and budget watch

Deb Erdley

It’s the middle of the week and local school districts are still juggling concerns about the lack of a state budget. We’re watching Harrisburg for signs of movement on the budget. Meanwhile, a new survey on the well-being of children across the nation shows we have room to go if we want to make children and education a top priority in Pennsylvania.

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WELL-PAID PRESIDENT: The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual compensation survey of public university presidents reported Wednesday that Penn State President Eric Barron’s 2016 paycheck topped $1 million. Between his $800,000 base salary, a $224,000 bonus and $15,717 in benefits, Barron, who has led PSU since 2014, collected $1,039,717. That made him the sixth highest paid public university president in the nation and one of only eight to top the $1 million mark.

While he may be the president of a sprawling land grant university with more than 99,000 students and campuses scattered across the state, Barron makes nowhere near as much as PSU head football coach James Franklin. USA Today’s annual 2016 survey of coaches’ compensation put Franklin’s total paycheck at $4.5 million, making him the 10th highest paid football coach in the country last year.


LATROBE TAX INCREASE; Citing uncertainly about about state and federal subsidies, the Latrobe Area School Board Tuesday approved a 1.75 mill tax increase.


BUDGET COUNTDOWN CONTINUES: Who knows what will shake out in Harrisburg? Budget talks appeared bogged down Tuesday over just how far to expand gambling as the countdown to Friday’s state budget deadline continued.


KIDS COUNT: The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 Kids Count report drills down into the condition of children’s live across the country. Pennsylvania ranked 20th in the nation in the economic well-being of its children and 11th in education. On the education front, the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in pre-school increased from 50 percent in 2009-11 to 54 percent in 2013-15.

VIRTUAL SCHOOLS: A new study that examined online schools in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington and Idaho found that virtual schools there had a higher student-teacher ratio than traditional K-12 public schools and that students underperformed compared to their counterparts in traditional public schools. The 58-page report from the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute cautioned against unfettered expansion of such schools and recommended stricter oversight and further research.

STUDENT PRIVACY CONCERNS: Ed Surge reports a new study from Carnegie Mellon University found that edtech startups often failed to “prioritize student data protections,” focusing instead on product development and sales. The study also points out that many startups lack formal methods for communicating what plans they have in place regarding student data.

HIGHER EDUCATION: Education Dive reports on Pennsylvania’s efforts to serve community college students in nine rural counties in the northern part of the state through an “interactive television” model that will reach students in various locations throughout the region via the new Rural Regional College of Northern Pennsylvania .

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