ACE PA Update May 13, 2011 News for Advocates for Catholic Education in Pennsylvania May 13, 2011   School Choice Update: Senate Bill 1 – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your hard work is paying off.  Senate Bill 1 is positioned to run in the next few weeks, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done if we are going to be successful.  We need to ramp-up our efforts and “give it all we got” to pass this bill in the Senate and then in the House!!!   Why it Matters:  All parents should be able to choose a school that best suits their children.  Financial realities often preclude parents from having that choice.  SB 1 will help many current Catholic school families and will allow even more children a chance to get a Catholic education.  Having more students in our classrooms is good news for our schools. Providing a quality education for our children is the most critical investment we can make for our future.  A good education helps children grow up to be good citizens.  Growing as many good citizens as we can will help ensure a better and brighter future for all of us.  The Opportunity Scholarship Grants and the expansion of Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) in SB 1 are the right choice for Pennsylvania. Governor Corbett is supportive of the bill and we are confident that SB 1 will pass in the Senate.  Now we need to put pressure on the House of Representatives to support SB 1 and school choice.  Contact your State Representative and ask him or her for two things: 1.  Suport SB 1 2.  Urge the House leadership to move quickly to pass SB 1     You can visit, call, fax, write or e-mail your State Representative. Use PCC’s online advocacy tool to send a message today. House Bill 1330 – The PA House recently passed HB 1330 out of the House by a vote of 190-7. The bill would expand Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference applauds the move, and views this legislation as part of a broader solution to expand school choice in Pennsylvania. The EITC has certainly demonstrated over its 10 year history that school choice works and is well-received in Pennsylvania.  We thank the PA House for passing this legislation, especially Representative Tom Quigley the prime sponsor of HB 1330.  HB 1330 is now in the Senate Education Committee.  While this is encouraging news for school choice, which gives families the opportunity to choose the best school for their children, it only represents one small part of a much broader effort to pass school choice legislation in Pennsylvania this session.  Senate Bill 1, which was voted out of the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, includes not only an expansion of EITC funding, but also Opportunity Scholarship Grants, or vouchers, to low-income students to pay tuition at the school of their choice 2011 Catholic Education Priorities: 1.  School choice legislation 2.  Increase the funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program to $100 million and add corrective language that  fixes unforeseen problems 3.  Build the ACE-PA advocacy network. ACE-PA is one of the most important tools we have to influence public policy. With your participation, we can truly change Catholic education in Pennsylvania.  I would like to say hello to all our new members and welcome them to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference’s ACE-PA monthly newsletter. The newsletter will update our volunteers of current Catholic school issues and identify our legislative priorities for the upcoming budget cycle in Pennsylvania.   Technology allows more user interaction for ACE-PA: Catholic education is among the many issues with which the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference gets involved. Please help spread the word to all your family and friends to assist us in growing the ACE-PA advocacy network.  It’s simple, just forward this link click here.  PCC also advocates on issues of religious liberty, life and the dignity of the human person, marriage and family, social justice, health care, and faith and politics during the election cycle.  Check any and all of the categories on the sign-up screen to receive updates on each of them.   All information supplied will only be used for Pennsylvania Catholic Conference purposes. Providing your home address allows the system to determine your legislative district.  If you choose to use the PCC website to send a message to your legislators, it will go to the appropriate elected official.  Legislators are most influenced by communications that come from their own constituents. The latest news about Catholic education issues in Harrisburg is posted as it happens on PCC’s website, pacatholic.org/catholic-education and on the ACE-PA Facebook page. Information about ACE-PA can also be found on the front page of pacatholic.org. Watch for the logo in the scrolling list of featured articles.  This page will offer resources that will help you boost our advocacy for Catholic education in Harrisburg, but also in your school, parish and community. The future of Catholic education in Pennsylvania depends on all of us.  If you have any suggestions on improving ACE-PA or increasing our membership, please contact me at smcaleer@pacatholic.org. 2011-05-16 2011-05-13