Category Archives: News

Endorsement News

“Education Voters Action Fund PA announce their endorsement of candidate for PA Governor Tom Wolf, candidate for PA Senate District 16 Senator Pat Brown, and candidate for PA House District 131 Mike Beyer.”

Political odd couple gets education group endorsement

By Scott Kraus Of The Morning Call October 9, 2014

Education odd couple? Republican, Democrat share group’s endorsement

Republican state Sen. Pat Browne and Democratic state House challenger Mike Beyer won the endorsement of a pro-public education advocacy group Thursday.

Browne is a two-term state senator and influential majority whip in the Republican controlled state Senate. Beyer is a first-time political candidate and Democratic challenger to two-term Republican state Rep. Justin Simmons in the Lehigh Valley’s 131st Legislative District.

An odd couple? Not when it comes to education, said Bob Previdi, spokesman for the Education Voters Action Fund.

Read the Full Story Here.

Education Voters Action Fund Endorses Tom Wolf for Governor

Calls for Voters to Remember Education All The Way Down Ballot

October 9, 2014

Today, Education Voters Action Fund, an independent, non-partisan organization working to promote a pro-public education agenda in Pennsylvania announced its endorsement of Tom Wolf for Governor.

“Public education has been left behind under Governor Corbett’s leadership over the last four years in Pennsylvania.  Tom Wolf will make support for public education a top priority once again,” said Susan Gobreski, Executive Director for Education Voters Action Fund.

“There is a big agenda to get Pennsylvania on the right track: we need fair and adequate funding; we need draw a straight line from adequate resources to the opportunity to learn for all students; we need to fix charter school funding and oversight; stop the constant pressure on property taxes and address the critical role of poverty.” Gobreski added.  “It is also important that when voters go to the polls they remember to think about education not just in the Governor’s race, but all the way down the ballot in races for the state legislature”

In response to Education Voters Action Fund’s endorsement Tom Wolf released the following statement, “Today I am proud to accept the endorsement of Education Voters Action Fund. If elected, I will make education a top priority in the commonwealth by instituting a 5 percent severance tax to restore Tom Corbett’s $1 billion cuts to education. These cuts have caused over 27,000 educators to be laid off, increases in class sizes, skyrocketing property taxes and the elimination of valuable programs. Pennsylvania deserves a leader who is dedicated to improving the lives of our citizens by investing in education.”

The endorsement of Wolf is Education Voters Action Fund’s first endorsement of the 2014 political cycle. ,Education Voters Action Fund will be making endorsements in approximately 2 dozen key races in both the State House and State Senate. Endorsements are based on candidates’ records, positions and plans on education, not their political party.

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The Good and The Bad: Recap of the State Budget and Other Activities

The fiscal year is over and a new budget has been passed for FY 2012-13, which includes some victories and some defeats for education issues.

THE BUDGET

The Good: By working together and speaking up, we were successful in getting funding restored in both Senate and House budget proposals which the Governor proposed be cut in his budget. Basic Education Funding (BEF), the Accountability Block Grant, Higher Education and Early Ed were not cut any further over last year’s devastating cuts. Included in the basic education line item is $50 million for fiscally distressed schools, $10 million of which will be in the form of zero-interest loans.

The Bad: This cements the drastic funding cuts education received in this current year’s current budget. As revenues continue to come in higher than projected, our job moving forward will be to continue to remind our legislators of the importance of providing a quality education to ALL students in Pennsylvania, the benefits of these investments and urge them to fight to restore the resources needed to support the programs our children need to learn.

Public Funds for Private Education: Vouchers and EITC/EITC 2.0

The Good: For over a year, we have been fighting voucher supporters/special interests and their deep special interest pockets in their attempt to push a voucher program that would send taxpayer dollars to private institutions. There is no evidence of success and no accountability or transparency for these public funds and the majority of the money would likely go to students already enrolled in private schools. Understanding that voters of Pennsylvania strongly oppose such a program, these special interests –and the legislators they fund — settled for an expansion of a program that already exists. The funding was capped at $50 million and although it does draw money from the state budget, it won’t be subtracted from the basic education line item.

The Bad: This program expansion (EITC increases and EISC) are really kind of “back door vouchers” and they do re-direct funding away from our general revenues and limits funds that could be used to prevent other cuts.

CHARTERS

The Good: Instituting a “statewide authorizer” for charter schools was a budget priority for Governor Corbett, but he lost that fight. A statewide authorizing entity would have removed local control and input on the creation of charter schools in local school districts, all the while leaving local taxpayers with the responsibility to pay for them. Legislators heard the concerns of their constituents, including the need for thorough updating to charter school law that isn’t rushed through at the last minute, and public involvement helped ensure that the bad elements of the proposal were not passed.

The Bad: Since the proposed policy included some bad provisions, a number of needed updates to current policy were not made; including fixes to the current funding structure. Charter schools are part of the public education landscape and we need sensible reform to fix the flawed funding structure, to promote fairness, transparency and accountability, to make sure communities have a say, and to allow charters to fulfill their mission. Moving forward, we will need to continue our fight against a statewide authorizer and in urging our legislators to enact real charter school funding reform.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

The Good: Legislation (SB 1115) promoting the equitable distribution of special education funding actually passed both chambers and created an important conversation about this issue. As a result of the process and excellent work done by both advocates and legislative champions, more legislators deepened their understanding of how special education funding works (or hasn’t).

The Bad: Unfortunately, SB 1115 was held hostage during budget negotiations. In the fall it will be imperative to make sure that our legislators move this important legislation forward, unencumbered by other issues, and start providing equitable funding to Pennsylvania’s neediest students.

The Good: This budget season is a great example of how your voices have an impact on state policy. Thank you for the many thousands of calls and emails you sent to your legislators in the last few months. Most importantly, thank you for the continuous support you’ve given to the students of Pennsylvania to help ensure sure that they receive an opportunity to learn.