Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The facts you need about school funding and the PA budget

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April 2016
Budget passes, but school funding crisis lives on
After a nine-month impasse, Pennsylvania has a budget. That's the good news. The bad news is this budget does little to address a school funding crisis that is gripping many of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.
Lawmakers get another chance to address this crisis and close a $2 billion deficit in the next budget due June 30. There is no more pressing issue facing legislators than passing a budget with the revenues needed to end the school funding crisis and to put the state's fiscal house in order.
How bad is Pennsylvania's school funding crisis? Consider these facts:
PA trails behind other states in school funding
PA is looking at a $2 billion deficit
Who will suffer most?
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All state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf need to work together to address these challenges. Otherwise, Pennsylvania will be looking at a massive school funding cut next year — and all the educational program cuts, staff layoffs, and property tax increases that will come with it.
Partners for Public Education like you can make a difference. Contact your state legislators and urge them to support a budget that closes the deficit and invests in public education.
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Want to deliver your message in person?
Come to Harrisburg on Monday, May 2 at 12:30 p.m. for the Rally for Public Education in the Main Rotunda of the State Capitol.
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding is hosting this event on the first day that the Legislature is back in session after Pennsylvania's primary election — a great time to make your voice heard in the halls of state government. Join us to send a message that you support fair funding of our schools.
If you're interested in participating in the rally, go to the Campaign for Fair Education Funding's website to learn more about the event and transportation options.
Campaign for Fair Education Funding Rally

Don't forget to vote on April 26
Your vote counts
We know you have a busy schedule, but please take a few minutes to go to the polls and VOTE in the primary election on April 26.
This year's election will have big implications for the future of our public schools, and the primaries are an important first step in that process.
Need to find your polling place? Simply visit votespa.com and enter your address. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on April 26.
Please take time to cast your ballot, and encourage your family and friends to vote, as well.

Strength of our economy starts with good public schools
Keep this in mind as lawmakers debate school funding in the coming months.
High-quality education is one of the best investments Pennsylvania can make in its future. It will create more economic opportunity for residents and do more to strengthen the state's overall economy than anything else.
How so? Research shows that investing in education at all levels yields long-term economic benefits for U.S. workers and the broader economy.
  • Early childhood education: For every $1 a state spends on these programs, $8 to $16 is returned to the community.
  • High school: Students who obtain their high school diploma earn $8,000 more annually than dropouts.
  • Higher education: Earning a bachelor's degree can add nearly $21,000 annually to a worker's salary.
Read more about the economic value of investing in education at Partners' website.

The Keystone Exams are next month
PA Keystone Exams
Next month, middle and high school students across Pennsylvania will take the Keystone Exams, end-of-course tests in algebra, biology, and English literature. The Keystones are administered three times a year, including in May. Students will receive a score of Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, or Advanced. Parents can expect to see scores in the mail within a month.
A change in law earlier this year delayed the use of the Keystones as a graduation requirement until 2019. Students graduating before then still have to take the tests, and school districts must offer supplemental instruction to those students who score less than Proficient, but students are not required to take any of the exams more than once, regardless of their score.
If your child is planning on taking any of the Keystone Exams next month, here are a few ways you can show your support:
  • Talk to your children about the test and any concerns they may have.
  • Remind your child he or she is more than a test score.
  • Make sure you know the school's testing calendar and schedule.
  • Avoid scheduling trips and appointments that would result in your child missing a testing session.
  • Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep and eats a healthy breakfast.
  • Make sure your child arrives on time to school on testing days.
Get more tips and information by reading Partners' two-page resource on the Keystone Exams.

Partner Benefits Spotlight: Hit the open road in a rental
Going on vacation, or just need a ride for a weekend road trip? You can save serious money on your next car rental simply by using your Partner Benefits. Get up to 25 percent off your rental from Avis, Budget, or National, and find other discounts on rentals from Alamo, Hertz, and Thrifty.
Just visit the Partners Benefits page to get started. Go to the Access Program website and log in (or create an account using your Partners' membership number). Then look for "Car Rental" under Categories.

Partners for Public Education is working to provide you with resources about public education in Pennsylvania because we are committed to the success of every child. It is brought to you by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, an organization made up of the dedicated employees in your Pennsylvania public schools.

Pennsylvania State Education Association, 400 North Third Street, Harri

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