Senator Argall E-Newsletter

View this email in a browser

In this update:

  • Basic Education Funding Commission Report Recommends Property Tax Reform
  • Merging PASSHE and Community Colleges?
  • Why Pursue Higher Education?
  • Attracting and Retaining the Best Teachers
  • School Safety Grants Available Now
  • Misguided Plan to Remove William Penn Statue Quickly Scrapped

Basic Education Funding Commission Report Recommends Property Tax Reform

The Basic Education Funding Commission wrapped up its work after 14 public hearings, 92 testifiers, and over 1,100 public comments.

While there were many areas of bipartisan agreement, including the serious needs to repair and—in high growth areas, to build—more schools and provide more predictability for state funding levels received by school districts, the commission was unable to come to a clear consensus on several other proposals.

The issues before the commission were wicked problems – problems with multiple conflicting definitions and no clear solutions. This debate will continue as the Senate and House approach the 2024-25 state budget process.

Read more about the work of the commission here.

Merging PASSHE and Community Colleges?

Last week, the Shapiro administration announced a new plan to merge the ten colleges that make up Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education with the fifteen community colleges in our state, creating a new higher education system.

We need to hear more on how the governor proposes to ask the General Assembly to create this new governance structure and how much it will cost taxpayers and students. Understanding the risks and ensuring this proposal is a net-positive is a must.

Read more about this new plan here.

Why Pursue Higher Education?

When considering the big step of pursuing higher education, it’s easy to find reasons to be discouraged. Thomas P. Foley, the President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, recently wrote a piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette debunking some of the most common critiques of higher education. 

While there are still many jobs available without a degree, a lack of higher education can limit your options. It’s estimated that by 2031, 70% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education.

Read the full piece here.

Attracting and Retaining the Best Teachers

With educator shortages continuing to plague parts of the state, we need to do everything we can to make it easier for qualified people to become teachers in Pennsylvania.

A new law that I wrote reduces barriers for teachers moving to Pennsylvania by entering the state into the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. Teachers with eligible certification in other compact states would not be required to complete additional materials, exams or coursework when applying for certification in Pennsylvania. They would still be required to complete background checks and other security clearances.

In addition to a high rate of teachers retiring or switching professions, fewer students are training to become teachers. To fight that concerning trend, we created a teacher stipend program. Through the program, a $10,000 stipend is available for individuals to complete their student teaching requirement. Students may claim an additional $5,000 stipend if they complete their student teaching in schools that don’t traditionally have student teachers and schools with high teacher vacancies.

School Safety Grants Available Now

More than $155 million in school safety funding is now available to both public and private schools across Pennsylvania. Applications and information about each of these grants, including eligibility criteria and instructions, can be found on Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s School Safety and Security webpage.

Informational webinars and other resources are also available to assist schools with navigating this process. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 29.

Misguided Plan to Remove William Penn Statue Quickly Scrapped

In a quick reversal, the National Parks Service has withdrawn its highly controversial plan to remove a statue of William Penn from the site of his former home in Philadelphia.

It’s baffling that the federal government even considered removing this monument. Penn was not just the founder of Pennsylvania – his tolerance and defense of religious freedom helped shape our nation.

I have introduced legislation with several other PA State Senators to protect our historic monuments, memorials, markers, and statues from those who seek to erase our history. It’s time to turn this bill into a law!

Facebook Twitter/X Instagram Website

2024 © Senate of Pennsylvania | | Privacy Policy