Senator Argall E-Newsletter

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In this update:

  • Pottsville CollegeTowne Brings New Life to Pottsville
  • Argall Report: Education Funding Reviewed at Hazleton Hearing
  • Morgan Success Scholarships Bring New Opportunities for Higher Education
  • 2023 in Review: Improving Education in Pennsylvania
  • PA Farm Show Runs Jan. 6-13
  • Mature Drivers: Take a Course, Save on Insurance
  • Resources to Help Quit Using Tobacco
  • Happy New Year!

Pottsville CollegeTowne Brings New Life to Pottsville

This week, I met with Alvernia University’s President, Glynis Fitzgerald and Vice President Thomas Minick to discuss their plans to further expand their Pottsville CollegeTowne in 2024. The campus has now been open for close to a year. 

I look forward to continuing my work with them to breathe new life into downtown Pottsville. With several new businesses, restaurants, microbreweries, and now a new college campus, Pottsville is a prime example of a community on the comeback trail.

Argall Report: Education Funding Reviewed at Hazleton Hearing

The December edition of my local TV program highlights a recent meeting in Hazleton of the Basic Education Funding Commission.

There is no issue I hear about more from my constituents than our unfair, unconstitutional school funding system. I invited the commission to come to Hazleton – one of the largest and most challenged school districts in the entire state – so that we could hear first-hand about the unique issues faced by local teachers, students, parents, and taxpayers.

During the hearing, I noted the challenges faced by students who speak English as their second language, injecting Spanish into my opening remarks to demonstrate how difficult it would be to learn complex math or science in a foreign language.

Morgan Success Scholarships Bring New Opportunities for Higher Education

A recent report from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania examined the impact of college promise programs, focusing in part on Lehigh Carbon Community College’s Morgan Success Scholarship. The LCCC Morgan Center in Tamaqua provides an important low-cost option for people of all ages throughout our region, with a special offer to Tamaqua Area High School graduates – free tuition for two years.

According to the report, the Morgan Success Scholarship has “profoundly influenced eligible students’ college-going behavior.” In the first year after the scholarship was first introduced, the share of Tamaqua High School graduates pursuing a higher education who attended a community college jumped from 12% to 63%.

Since the Morgan Center opened its doors 20 years ago, as can be seen above, it’s changed the lives of so many people. I’m proud to have been a part of the partnership that made the LCCC Morgan Center possible!

Read the full report here.

2023 in Review: Improving Education in Pennsylvania

2023 began with a new role for me as your state Senator – the chair of the Senate Education Committee. Since I took on this task, I’ve traveled across the state hearing from parents, students, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders about how we can improve our schools from pre-school to grad school.

One bill I proposed after chairing a public hearing on educator workforce shortages was signed into law earlier this month. My bill has joined Pennsylvania into the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, removing barriers for qualified, well-suited teachers looking to get their certification when moving here.

Looking ahead, I expect many more spirited debates in 2024 about how we can provide more educational opportunities for children and how best to address the Commonwealth Court decision that the way we fund our public schools is unconstitutional.

Read a recap of education policy in Pennsylvania by the Center Square here.

PA Farm Show Runs Jan. 6-13

As a state where agriculture is one of the top industries, Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation. The 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show runs from Jan. 6-13 in Harrisburg.

The Farm Show features nearly 6,000 animals and more than 10,000 exhibits. There are also thousands of competitions and educational and entertaining events – and of course the famed Food Court, offering Farm Show milkshakes, fried cheese and so much more. Admission is free, and parking is $15 per car. Make the most of your trip with the visitor’s guide.

Agriculture in PA employs nearly half a million people and contributes $132.5 billion to the state’s economy annually.

Mature Drivers: Take a Course, Save on Insurance

Mature drivers who would like to brush up on their driving skills and save money on car insurance are invited to take a Basic or Refresher Mature Driver Improvement course.

The approved courses provide information about how aging affects driving abilities and insight into driving on today’s roadways. There are no written or practical driving tests.

By completing the Basic Mature Driver Improvement Course, drivers are eligible for a 5% discount on their vehicle insurance. Check course fees and availability here.

Resources to Help Quit Using Tobacco

As we approach the New Year, many people are thinking about changes they can make in 2024. If one of your resolutions is to stop smoking – or to give up tobacco use in any form – resources are available.

Learning tobacco-free coping skills is safe and achievable; improves physical and mental health; and aids long-term success. Access free online resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offers a free support hotline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Happy New Year!

Pennsylvania offers some quirky New Year’s Eve drops, from the bologna drop in Lebanon to the strawberry drop in Harrisburg. There are also family-friendly options, including Crayola’s Jazzberry Jammin’ New Year’s Eve in Easton. Find a special way to celebrate.

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