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How performance-based funding could work for PSU

Plus: Key takeaways from our event on transparency in education

This is Talk of the Town, a free weekly newsletter delivering top news from State College and the surrounding region.

March 21, 2024
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Inside this edition: What performance-based state funding would mean for Penn State, how much attorney general candidates have raised, and Altoona EMS agency hit by cyberattack.
Real quick: The performance-based funding model proposed by Gov. Josh Shapiro would tie state support for Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln to metrics such as graduation rates or retention, Spotlight PA’s Wyatt Massey reports.

A little more: Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro has proposed creating a predictable funding formula and boosting state support by 5% for the state-related universities — Lincoln University, Penn State University, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

This new model would tie public funds for the universities to certain metrics, but it is not yet clear what those would be. Taxpayer support for the state-related institutions would also pass through the Pennsylvania Department of Education as grants with a majority vote from the legislature rather than require a two-thirds vote, which is the current model.

In recent years, state House Republicans have delayed funding the schools over political beliefs. Last budget cycle, funding for the universities was not approved until five months after the budget deadline, and passed alongside a separate bill that increased transparency requirements for the schools.

“We need to fix the way we fund our state-relateds — Pitt, Penn State, and Temple — along with the nation’s oldest degree-granting HBCU, Lincoln University,” Shapiro said during his February budget address. “For too long, we’ve under-funded them and subjected them to political games.”

The proposed performance-based funding model is used by more than half of states across the country, though experts warn such plans can have unintended consequences if not constructed thoughtfully.

The full story: Read more here.
As a nonprofit, Spotlight PA’s unique investigative and public-service journalism depends on your support. Make a tax-deductible gift to Spotlight PA today in support of Sunshine Week and it will be DOUBLED thanks to a generous matching grant from our friends at The Benter Foundation!

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» 5 takeaways from Spotlight PA’s event on education transparency and holding public school officials accountable

» Pa. election 2024: How much the Democratic and Republican attorney general candidates have raised

» Pa. election 2024: A complete guide to the primary candidates for attorney general

» WATCH: How to hold Pa.’s schools, universities accountable.

» Gov. Josh Shapiro wants to spend $80M to attack Pennsylvania’s housing crisis. Here’s how.
A throwback to warm weather in Mary N.’s Boalsburg, Centre County, backyard.

Have a north-central Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
Flowers and herbs
Introducing Spotlight PA’s “All Sun, No Shade” beach towel! This towel is now available to celebrate Sunshine Week, a time when we mark the importance of government transparency. Sunshine Week ends on March 23, so make sure to place your order ASAP before supply runs out!

Proceeds benefit Spotlight PA’s nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism that gets results for Pennsylvania.
» Mirror: Claysburg fire among the worst in decades
» WPSU: Clinton County 911 adds live video option
» CDT: Woman sues Centre County jail over ‘shameful’ medical treatment
» Mirror: Altoona EMS agency hit by cyberattack

» SC: State College connector project advances
» NCPA: $2.6M in funding for Old City revitalization project
» CDT: State College remembers Osaze Osagie five years after death
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» March 22: Central PA United hosts a Bollywood Dance Party to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, and recognize strides made in criminal justice initiatives. The event will take place at the Boalsburg Fire Company in Centre County.

» March 23: West End Library in Laurelton, Union County, hosts a Bone Hunt for the good dog in your life. 

» March 23: Browse vintage clothing, accessories, home decor, vinyl, and more at Central PA Vintage Fest at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, Lycoming County.

» March 24: Children can hunt for Easter eggs at Horseshoe Curve in Altoona, Blair County.

» March 24: Move and groove with a yoga class set to live music at Titan Hollow in Bellefonte, Centre County.
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An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”

Decode the anagram and send your answer to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org. We’ll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA State College swag.

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There were no new winners this week. Send this newsletter to your friends so they get a shot at receiving Spotlight PA State College swag! Those who answered correctly: Leslie B., Bill L., Linda M., Frederick H., Rick W., Kevin M., and Leann T.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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