Partners Post: May 2018

Gov. Wolf pushes for school funding in state budget

Gov. Tom Wolf and lawmakers are working to finalize the 2018-19 state budget, a spending plan in which the governor has made school funding a top priority. Gov. Wolf is pushing hard to increase funding for public schools and reverse the nearly $1 billion in funding cuts enacted in 2011.

His plan includes:

  • $100 million increase in basic education funding.
  • $20 million increase in special education funding.
  • $40 million increase in pre-kindergarten and Head Start funding.
  • $60 million increase in funding for career and technical education initiatives.

The state budget deadline is June 30.

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'Safe2Say' bill aims to protect schools and students

The state Senate is poised to vote on a bill that will encourage Pennsylvanians to share information about potential school safety threats in an effort to prevent violent incidents before they occur.

Senate Bill 1142, the “Safe2Say” legislation, reflects a bipartisan effort that has the full support of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The legislation would provide a safe and anonymous way for parents, school staff, students, and community members to report dangerous or criminal acts, threats, or instances of bullying, and make sure that law enforcement and school officials get that information so they can act on it.

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New alternatives to Keystone Exams proposed

Even though the use of the Keystone Exams as a graduation requirement has been delayed until the 2019-20 school year, some lawmakers are already proposing common sense alternatives to placing so much emphasis on these high-stakes tests.

State Sen. Tom McGarrigle has introduced Senate Bill 1095 to give students additional graduation options. The additional options he has proposed include:

  • Meeting or exceeding a composite score across the Keystone exams.
  • Meeting or exceeding local grade requirements in tested subjects and subject-specific tests.
  • Meeting or exceeding local grade requirements in tested subjects and presenting information from a student portfolio.

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Children should not go hungry in summer

When school is out for the summer, children who receive meals at school or in after-school programs do not have to lose access to a reliable source of nutrition.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program teams up with local organizations like schools, churches, community centers, and camps to offer up to two healthy meals per day to eligible kids. In neighborhoods where more than half of children qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, summer meals are available to any child under 18.

If you know a family struggling to provide healthy meals this summer, pass it on.

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New state policies on student nutrition

Missing meals can have serious impacts on children's health and their ability to learn. Experts have found that hungry students are more likely to have academic and behavioral problems in school. Simply eating breakfast can help students perform better in the classroom. Staying healthy is also key to learning. Students who are healthy are absent less and learning in the classroom more.

Pennsylvania’s new program will help achieve these goals. Gov. Tom Wolf recently released mini-grants to help schools provide students with access to good nutrition. Learn more:

 

  
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