Capitol Roundup from Rep. Mike Peifer

Special Education Funding Commission Issues Recommendations

Working to ensure the state’s special education funding dollars are being properly distributed to best meet the needs of students, the Special Education Funding Commission has issued its recommendations for a new funding formula. As a member of the commission, Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne) took part in a series of hearings over the summer and fall geared to collecting information about how to more fairly and accurately distribute special education funding among the state’s 500 school districts. Currently the funding is awarded based on the assumption that 15 percent of all students in a school district have mild disabilities and 1 percent have severe disabilities. The commission is instead recommending a new formula that will include factors reflecting students’ needs based on three cost categories, as well as factors reflecting community differences such as market value/personal income aid ratio, equalized millage rate, and small and rural school districts. Nearly 270,000 children – about one in every seven students – receive special education services in Pennsylvania public schools. In schools with adequate resources, academic achievement for children with disabilities averages close to the results for all students. State funding for special education is slightly less than $1 billion a year.

House OKs Coyote Control Incentive Program

The state House has approved Rep. Mike Peifer’s (R-Monroe/Pike/Wayne) legislation authorizing the Pennsylvania Game Commission to create a coyote control incentive program for hunters and furtakers. The program is designed to address the exploding population of coyotes, which have started moving into neighborhoods and creating a public safety hazard. House Bill 1534 authorizes the Pennsylvania Game Commission to offer an incentive of $25 to properly licensed hunters and furtakers for each coyote lawfully harvested in the Commonwealth. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

House Continues Work to Protect Children

Six bills to further protect Pennsylvania’s children by strengthening the state’s child abuse laws were sent to the governor’s desk this week. The proposals update the legal definition of a perpetrator, clarify mandates for reporting child abuse and accountability, and outline due process protections in the case of false reports. Other bills moving through the legislative process allow electronic reporting of child abuse, require health care providers to report illegal substance effects in newborns, and implement protections for those who report child abuse in good faith from employment discrimination and termination. The bills stem from findings and recommendations from the Task Force on Child Protection, which was created in 2011 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State University.

Representative Mike Peifer
139th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler
(717) 772-9846
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