Know Your Rights – Voter ID

NOTE:  You ONLY need to have an ID to vote if you are voting for the first time or for the first time at a polling location. 

For More Information or to Find Your Polling Place click here.

If we want politicians to know our priorities then we have to vote, so make sure that YOU will have a voice in this year’s election!

2012 Victories

Many of our endorsed candidates were successful in winning their election in 2012.  

SD-1, Sen. Larry Farnese (D); Philadelphia

SD-7, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D); Philadephia

SD-15, Rob Teplitz (D); Dauphin County

SD-17, Sen. Daylin Leach (D); Montgomery County

SD-31, Sen. Pat Vance (R); Cumberland County

SD-37, Matt Smith (D); Allegheny County

SD-49, Sean Wiley  (D); Erie County

HD-7, Rep. Mark Longietti (D); Mercer County

HD-18, Rep. Gene Digirolamo (R); Bucks County

HD-22, Erin Molchany (D); Allegheny County

HD-29, Rep. Bernie O’Neil (R); Bucks County

HD-31, Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D); Bucks County

HD-39, Dave Levdansky (D); Allegheny County (not called yet)

HD-70, Rep Matt. Bradford (D); Montgomery County

HD-81, Rep. Mike Fleck (R); Huntingdon County

HD-96; Mike Sturla (D); Lancaster County

HD-152, Thomas Murt (R); Montgomery County

HD-163, Rep. Nick Micozzie (R); Delaware County

HD-166, Rep. Greg Vitali (D); Delaware County

HD-167, Rep. Duane Milne (R), Chester County

HD-188, Rep. Jim Roebuck (D); Philadelphia County

2012 General Election Endorsements

We are very pleased to announce our endorsements for the 2012 General Election.  Based on a review of available information, including written materials, public statements, voting records and candidate interviews, Education Voters has decided to endorse the following candidates with a goal of having more legislators who support public education in public office.

These candidates recognize that if our economy and our communities are going to improve and remain strong that it starts with our students.  We need strong policymakers in Harrisburg that are willing to stand up for our values, so we ask that you support public education by supporting these candidates on November 6th!

 

Education Voters PA endorses the following members for election to the PA Senate:

SD-1, Sen. Larry Farnese (D); Philadelphia

SD-7, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D); Philadephia

SD-15, Rob Teplitz (D); Dauphin County

SD-17, Sen. Daylin Leach (D); Montgomery County

SD-31, Sen. Pat Vance (R); Cumberland County

SD-37, Matt Smith (D); Allegheny County

SD-47, Kim Villella (D); Beaver County

SD-49, Sean Wiley  (D); Erie County

 

Education Voters PA endorses the following members for election to the PA House:

HD-7, Rep. Mark Longietti (D); Mercer County

HD-18, Rep. Gene Digirolamo (R); Bucks County

HD-22, Erin Molchany (D); Allegheny County

HD-29, Rep. Bernie O’Neil (R); Bucks County

HD-31, Rep. Steve Santarsiero (D); Bucks County

HD-39, Dave Levdansky (D); Allegheny County

HD-70, Rep Matt. Bradford (D); Montgomery County

HD-81, Rep. Mike Fleck (R); Huntingdon County

HD-89, Susan Spicka (D); Franklin County

HD-96; Mike Sturla (D); Lancaster County

HD-104, Chris Dietz (D); Dauphin County

HD-130, Russ Diesinger (D); Berks County

HD-131, Kevin Deely (D); Lehigh County

HD-152, Thomas Murt (R); Montgomery County

HD-156, Bret Binder (D); Chester County

HD-157, Paul Drucker (D); Chester County

HD-163, Rep. Nick Micozzie (R); Delaware County

HD-166, Rep. Greg Vitali (D); Delaware County

HD-167, Rep. Duane Milne (R), Chester County

HD-188, Rep. Jim Roebuck (D); Philadelphia County

Developing a Sensible Approach to Funding Our Schools

Click HERE for a pdf. version.

Pennsylvania has an economic, moral and constitutional imperative to ensure that every student has an opportunity to learn in a safe and healthy environment, with access to good curriculum and high standards for educational quality.

The way we fund schools should be based on community values and rational principles. What do we want our children to learn? What is required for economic competitiveness and strong communities? What makes Pennsylvania a good place to raise a family? What is fair and fiscally responsible? What is legal, ethical and Constitutional?

    We need to start with what we want our students to learn.

 

The calculation for setting up a baseline funding level must be based on the real costs of sufficiently providing the programs and experiences that students need to meet any standards that are set.

If we say they need to reach a certain level of educational attainment in any subject, it is our duty to ensure that each child is provided with the actual materials, instruction, support and time necessary to learn it. Furthermore, the real world recognizes that different students have different educational needs so our funding approach needs to recognize that too.

A funding structure must be fiscally responsible. 
A good formula provides stability to both students and communities. It should allow us to manage our educational priorities in ways that are stable, long term and that control costs without shortchanging children or communities.

That means it must: be predictable, accurate (use updated data), provide accountability and transparency mechanisms; it must address issues of equity and the fact that Pennsylvania has a variety of communities in both size and type. Furthermore, Pennsylvania must reduce the reliance on property taxes which unfairly pressures and harms community health and economic development as well as disproportionately burdens communities that have less ability to generate property tax revenue. The state must implement a schedule to increase the state share of support for education.

    What we do must meet our Constitutional, legal and ethical responsibilities.

 


Any distribution formula must meet the Constitutional obligation to provide a “thorough and efficient” education, and represent an equitable approach to allocating funds. It must also reduce the influence of politics on school funding.

The Pennsylvania Constitution states that the state’s responsibility is to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” In fact, it is the only service mandated by the Constitution.

Our legislature should develop, implement and adhere to “an objective formula to distribute resources in a manner that is internally uniform and consistent for all school districts, rather than using selective political influences and favors for some districts including hold-harmless spending, minimum increases, multiple formulas aimed at specific districts, and new line items added for public relations purposes.” (Education Law Center “10 criteria for Evaluating K-12 Education Funding in PA”).

Pennsylvania must move toward a rational, sustainable funding structure. This will eliminate the use (or misuse) of power and political struggles; be fair to communities large and small and most importantly, give every student an opportunity to learn.

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.