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Take action by writing to our elected officials on education issues.

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Below you will find several letters with suggested text. Please feel free to use the information below to write your own letters.

For the address of your legislator please consult:findyourlegislator.

Fair funding letter (1):
Print, sign and send: FairFundingLetter2014.pdf or feel free to use the text below to write your own letter.


Dear Legislator:

Pennsylvania is one of only three states that do not have a funding formula for public education. Without a predictable and equitable funding formula, it is impossible for local school districts to make accurate long-term financial plans. This not only jeopardizes educational opportunities for students but also erodes the stability of local communities.

Over the past 10 years, Actual Instructional Expense has increased on average by 90 percent across Pennsylvania’s school districts due to factors outside of the control of local taxpayers. During that same time, the burden of bridging the gap between instructional costs and revenue has increasingly fallen to local taxpayers, whose abilities to close the financial gap vary widely by municipality.

Districts across the State have been forced to raise local taxes and cut research-based educational programs proven to help students achieve. Meanwhile, when the State does add funds to districts, the funds often come as grants, with strings attached, which only provide short-term assistance instead of secure, dedicated long-term financial solutions. For example, funds allocated to the new Ready to Learn grant belong in the Basic Education Funding subsidy, so that local districts can allocate these additional resources as determined by the needs of the individual districts.

I am writing to ask you to make equitable, formula-based State funding of education a priority in Pennsylvania this budget cycle, so that:

  • children have the opportunity to access a quality, public education regardless of the wealth of their greater community, whether the children are enrolled as basic education, special education, or English language learners, and regardless of their socio-economic status;
  • children can benefit from programs proven to foster achievement such as preschool, kindergarten, tutoring for struggling students, smaller class sizes, and technology in the classroom;
  • school district officials can rely on a predictable statewide funding formula that allows for long-term and multi-year planning and budgeting;
  • taxpayers have reasonable, equitable, and transparent local and state taxes, and taxpayers do not have to hope for the influence of legislators to provide stop-gap funding.

Sincerely,

Your name

Closing the budget gap letter (1):


Dear ______ ,

I am writing to you today in regards to the school funding crisis that began in 2010, when Governor Tom Corbett began the funding cuts to public education which reached nearly two billion dollars as of last year.  As you know, last year Upper Darby School District joined many other schools throughout Pennsylvania in cutting programs, increasing class sizes, and laying off over 20,000 education professionals, as it faced the challenging decisions of how to reach a balanced budget.

Governor Tom Corbett has used the children of this Commonwealth as bargaining chips to advance his anti-public school/pro privatization agenda, and as a taxpaying citizen, I am asking you to take a strong stand in favor of public education.  Untapped funding resources which might help restore the two billion dollars stripped from public education must be considered in order to help all of the School Districts in the Commonwealth face the difficult challenges before them today.  Education funding needs to be recession-proof, and I am looking to my elected leaders to demonstrate strong leadership and resourcefulness at this time.

I do want to thank you for all of your help last year in helping to secure funding for our school district.  Please continue to be a part of the solution to the school funding crisis.  I’m counting on you!

Sincerely,

Your Name

 

Special Education Funding letter (1):


Congressman Meehan
940 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
Phone: (610) 690-7323
Fax: (610) 690-7329
http://meehan.house.gov/

Dear Congressman Meehan,

Thank you for your commitment to work on revising the special education funding formula used in Pennsylvania to offset the costs to school districts of adhering to IDEA.

In Upper Darby School District, 18 percent of the enrolled students are eligible for special education services. As you know, Pennsylvania’s special education funding formula assumes that 16 percent of all students in each of its 501 school districts need special education services. Actual student counts in nearly all districts are either significantly higher or significantly lower than this assumption, and the formula needs to reflect the reality.

When taxpayers can’t match the gap between costs and funds, basic education programs get cut. Please update me on your progress in addressing the funding formula, since this is a matter impacting the quality of the basic and special education programs available to our state’s current K-12 students, Pennsylvania’s future workforce.

Sincerely,

Concerned taxpayer and parent

 

Charter Schools letter (2):


Date

Upper Darby School Board
Administrative Building
4611 Bond Ave.
Drexel Hill, PA. 19026

Dear Upper Darby School District Board Members,

I would like to express my opposition to the application of the CHOICES Charter School within the Upper Darby School District. I urge the School Board to reject the application of the CHOICES Charter School.

Approving this charter school will have a negative impact on the existing public schools in our district. The CHOICES Charter School only has the ability to serve a minimal portion of the total number of children in this school district. It cannot provide the same level of educational opportunities, extracurricular activities, and support services that the children in our district require in order to remain competitive with other high-performing school districts in our area and across the state.

Lastly, supporting CHOICES Charter School will put an excessive strain on our already challenging budget. It will deplete the finances that are crucial to supporting our public schools, making it a burden on our community and township. The Upper Darby School District School Board needs to focus our limited resources on supporting our existing students and educational facilities, not directing our precious funds toward a new school.

Sincerely,

Date


Upper Darby School Board
Administrative Building
4611 Bond Ave.
Drexel Hill, PA. 19026

Dear Upper Darby School District Board Members,

I am writing you today to voice my opposition of the application for CHOICES Charter School. I urge the School Board to reject the application of the CHOICES Charter School. In my opinion, this charter school will not be able to provide the same quality programs and services that the Upper Darby School District currently provides to its students.

Adding a charter school to this community would be detrimental for a variety of reasons, including:

1. Charter schools not only drain funding away from the public schools, but also drain them of higher performing students and involved families.
2. It will deplete the finances that support the existing Upper Darby School District, making it a burden on our community and township. The Upper Darby School District School Board needs to focus our limited resources on supporting our existing students and educational facilities, not directing our precious funds toward a new school.
3. The proposed location of the charter school is not centrally located within the district; thus, it would primarily serve only students who live in or near Clifton Heights.
4. This charter applicant plans to use a competition-based model that has not been proven as an effective method for full-time classroom instruction; it has only been used in the United States for after-school enrichment.
5. The charter operator did not present any distinct proven model for increasing student outcomes.
6. The school’s capacity is only 720 K-8 students. Why would we want a charter school that can only handle 8.5% of our K-8 student population? Our district has 8445 students in grades K-8. We would not be able to reduce staff to accommodate the cost of this new school.

As a taxpayer, I cannot justify my tax dollars going to support a school that cannot provide for the needs of the entire district’s population. I urge you, as an Upper Darby taxpayer and a School Board member, to reject the CHOICES Charter School application.

Sincerely,

Write: Funding

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