I am writing to clarify this email I sent out last week. Lawmakers should oppose HB 178 because includes a $10 million increase in tax breaks for scholarships to unaccountable private and religious schools, which go mainly to well-off families, and it contains provisions that make it easier for school districts to lay off teachers by allowing layoffs for “economic reasons.” However, after many discussions about the unclear charter school language in HB 178, I have concluded that my opposition based on the Act stripping local control over charter expansion was a misinterpretation. I apologize for the confusion that I have created through this misinterpretation.

-Susan Spicka

From Education Voters

This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for defenders of public education in PA.

On Wednesday, October 18, mostly along party lines, the PA House passed an amended School Code with significant attacks on public education buried deep in the 75-page bill.The School Code is an omnibus bill, a single document that requires a single vote, but packages together a wide variety of different measures, many of which could not pass on their own.

Click HERE to contact your state senator and Governor Wolf.

The School Code bill (HB 178) that the PA House passed:

  • provides an additional $10 million in taxpayer-funded tuition subsidies for affluent families that send their children to private/religious schools by increasing funding available to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit scholarship organizations;
  • allows for the unfettered expansion of charter schools into communities without taxpayer approval by creating “multiple charter school organizations” that would be allowed to open charter schools without the approval of elected school boards or local taxpayers, who will pay every dollar of charter school tuition increases; and
  • includes language that makes it easier to lay off teachers by including “economic reasons” as reason to cut teachers.

Pennsylvanians who care about quality public education for all students must contact their state senators and Governor Wolf today to demonstrate strong opposition to this stealth attack on public education.

Click HERE to for a link you can share on Facebook and invite your networks to contact their state senators and Governor Wolf.

The School Code will go to the Senate, which returns to Harrisburg on Monday, October 23. The Senate may vote on the School Code as is, it may amend the School Code, or it may decide to take no action. The legislature does not need to pass a School Code in order to enact the 2017-2018 budget.

When lawmakers are unable to pass education-related legislation through the regular process, they sneak it into the School Code bill in the hopes that their constituents are too disengaged to notice.

Please click HERE to tell your state senator that you are paying attention and that you expect him/her to support PUBLIC education.

Thank you for your continued support of public education.


Susan Spicka, Executive Director, Education Voters of PA

PS: The House passed a revenue plan to fund the budget that includes no shale tax,  a whopping $1.5 BILLION in borrowing against the state tobacco fund and transfers from one-time sources. The Senate will consider this revenue proposal next week.

PPS: Click HERE for a detailed look at what is in the School Code.

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