Last updated: February 19. 2013 8:47PM - 191 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – For years, Dave Davare was the go-to guy at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association if you wanted to know the ins and outs of tax reform, cyber schools, state reimbursements, and pretty much any other hot-button issue in public education.

On Friday, he brings his expertise to the Ramada Inn for a 90-minute session titled Challenges facing our local school districts.

I'll be looking at the history of hot topics in education since 1972, Davare said. I look at the hot issues every 10 years and, surprise, surprise, the same issues keep cropping up.

Davare should know; he recently retired as director of research services at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Some of those recurring issues are high on the list of district woes in the upcoming year, including a huge spike in district contributions into pension funds, a problem that has festered for over a decade that can be fixed only by the state legislature.

Davare cited another chronic problem: Lack of state funding for mandated special education services. The state had flat-lined funding for five years, and recent effort to revise the funding formula died in the state house.

In the last decade, Davare has provided background and insight for Times Leader stories on state property tax reform efforts, school district fund balance requirements and recommendations, the impact of state Keystone Opportunity Zone tax breaks on district budgets, the history of teacher contracts and benefits, and the shifting educational landscape caused by cyber schools.

Friday's session, held by the Pennsylvania Economy League Central Division office, promises to be equally wide-ranging, Communications Director Lynne Shedlock said.

While it is aimed primarily at school board members, district administrators, educators and businesses, Shedlock said the public is welcome. There is a $15 charge. As of Tuesday, 26 people had pre-registered, so there is still ample room, she added.

Those interested are encouraged to pre-register – information is available online at pelcentral.org by clicking events. But Shedlock said walk-ins are welcome the day of the event. The session starts at noon and echoed a promise made in a press release that promised it will conclude by 1:30 p.m.

If you go

What: Challenges Facing Our Local School Districts information session

When: Friday, Dec. 7, 12 - 1:30 p.m.

Where: Ramada Inn, 20 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre

Cost: $15

More info: pelcentral.org

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