Tell PA Legislators: Our Children Can’t Wait
Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a budget that invests in our schools and other critical public services in Pennsylvania. It’s a proposal that lays out a vision for a better future for Pennsylvania, and diffuses the financial crisis facing our state.
But the PA Legislature has refused to take a vote. This inaction has jeopardized the education, lives and futures of Pennsylvania’s schoolchildren, seniors and working families. Because of this failure to take action on a budget, Pennsylvania faces a $500 million deficit by the close of this fiscal year. This could balloon to more than $2 billion next year. This would mean the layoff of thousands of educators across the state, and the loss of critical programs and services for schoolchildren!
Write to your State Senators and Representatives TODAY. Tell them our children and working families can’t afford to wait any longer. It’s time to get back to work on a budget that funds our schools and secures Pennsylvania’s future.
How to advocate for public schools
Public schools are the backbone of our community and the key to developing a vibrant local economy, an educated and skilled workforce and civic-minded citizens.
The School District of Philadelphia was taken over under Act 46 of 2001 by the state, which now appoints 3 of 5 School Reform Commissioners who select a superintendent and oversee the district. The mayor of Philadelphia appoints the remaining two commissioners. The state and city are primarily responsible for allocated tax money to fund school district programs, with the state contributing more than half of the district’s operating budget, the city contributing a third of the budget and the remainder coming through federal government programs (Title I, for example).
As a result, taxpayers, voters and other education advocates must lobby on several levels simultaneously – at the city – the mayor and with City Council members; at the state – the governor and State Senators and Representatives; and at the federal level: the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Pennsylvania State Government
Pennsylvania General Assembly provides between half and two thirds of the School District’s funding each year as part of the statewide budget process. The governor proposes a budget in February and must pass a balanced budget by June 30 each year. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate meet from mid-September through June. It’s important for PFT members to keep in touch with their state Senators and Representatives, to let them know where their constituents stand on isses and proposed legislation.
Call Gov. Tom Corbett’s Office: 717-787-2500
Register to Vote
Polls show that many Americans aren’t satisfied with their elected representatives, yet the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in elections has been declining since the 1960s. That isn’t the case for union members in general and PFT members in particular. PFT members are represented disproportionately at the polls. Although many voters wonder whether their vote counts, in local and state elections high voter turnout by a particular group can have a profound impact on who represents us.
The PFT encourages every member to register and to vote in every election. High schools may also hold voter registration drives to encourage new 18-year-olds to register to vote as well.
Click below to register to vote in the state where you reside. Contact your PFT staff representative for voter registration forms for your co-workers, parents and students.