Thank you for all your support of 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 Pennsylvaania. I would like to say hello to all our new members and welcome them to the first edition of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference’s ACE-PA monthly newsletter. This new regular newsletter will update our volunteers of current Catholic school issues and identify our legislative priorities for the upcoming budget cycle in Pennsylvania.
New technology allows more user interaction for ACE-PA
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has upgraded its electronic advocacy tools. New ACE-PA volunteers can now go online and sign-up for the network and maintain their contact information themselves. As a current ACE-PA member, you are already registered. To check to see if your contact information is accurate please click here. In the Quick Login Screen, type in your e-mail address and zip code and check the View/Edit box. The next screen will allow you to update our record of your information. Catholic education is among the many issues with which the PCC gets involved. Are you interested in other Catholic public policy issues? 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. 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.
We hope that one day every Catholic school website in Pennsylvania will have a link to the ACE-PA page, so new members can join automatically. Instructions and graphics to post this link to your school’s webpage are available online.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonpublic schools spared in mid-year budget cuts, more work to do in new budget year
The Pennsylvania budget deficit continues to grow and shows no signs of improvement. Budget projections in Pennsylvania show that the deficit could rise to $100-200 million by year’s end. Governor Rendell recently released his mid-year budget cuts. Some education line items will be cut, but fortunately, the nonpublic line items were not among them. This is indeed a victory for ACE-PA. Your support and outreach has made a difference.
Governor Rendell will announce his 2010-2011 budget proposal in early February. We will have a better idea then about how Catholic school line items will fare. The next ACE-PA newsletter will include the governor’s proposed budget and an outline of what ACE-PA members can do next.
2010 Catholic Education Priorities
- Stop the proposed $10 million cut for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. The EITC program is the largest education scholarship program offered to Catholic school students in Pennsylvania. EITC received a $15 million (20%) cut in the 2009-2010 budget cycle; it is scheduled to receive an additional $10 million cut in this cycle if we don’t stop it.
- Equity in education funding for all students in Pennsylvania.
- Technology funding for nonpublic students.
- Monitor the American Recovery and Relief Act (ARRA). The second and final year of the federal stimulus dollars will be released to Pennsylvania. We have to make sure that the proportionate share of those funds for nonpublic schools is allotted.