Friday, April 22, 2011

Students First PAC Ramps up their Attack

Students First PAC Ramps up their Attack
After spending almost $6 million last year in support of vouchers, the Students First PAC is ramping up their efforts since SB1 hit a wall in the Senate last week.  They have a slick new ad personally attacking Senator Daylin Leach for his opposition to the bill.  Here are a couple background items on the group:


The Truth About Harrisburg’s Pro-Voucher Cash.
A new report from the online news service Capitolwire finds that the wealthy special interests advocating for taxpayer-funded private-school vouchers have spent a total of $7 million to influence Pennsylvania politicians.  That total includes a never-previously-revealed $300,000 for Gov. Corbett.  “While only $27,000 ever went directly to Corbett from the [Students First PAC], the rest was routed through the Republican Governor’s Association, GOP insiders confirmed,” according to Capitolwire, with some of the money coming from the right-wing DeVos family.  In an eerie parallel, Corbett famously received $480,000 in stealth campaign cash funneled from a gas driller when he was running for Attorney General in 2004.  It looks like this politician’s stripes never change.


Voucher Advocate Betsy DeVos, Right-Wing Think Tanks Behind Koch-Style Attack on PA Public Schools
Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 11:28:44 PM EST
The DeVos family crusade to eradicate public education has targeted Pennsylvania, and a voucher bill may come to a vote in the PA Senate as early as Tuesday.  It's being marketed as a solution to save public schools, but the big donors are tied to right-wing think tanks that openly advocate, and strategize, the end of public education.  How can vouchers improve public schools if the people mobilizing the movement intend to eradicate public education?  Regardless of your personal stance on "school choice," it's important to know who is behind the voucher movement and the agenda they don't share with the public or advertise in their media campaigns.

Students First PAC - Follow The Voucher Money


According to the PA Department of State's Campaign Finance Reporting website, during 2010 the Students First PAC, a voucher advocacy PAC, contributed $5,956,913.07 to Pennsylvania candidates, including 6 members of the Senate Education Committee.

A September 15th 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer article described how a trio of wealthy Bala Cynwyd businessmen with a passion for school choice gave a combined $5 million to Senator Anthony Williams, then one of three Democrats running against Dan Onorato in the Democratic primary.  The three - Joel Greenberg, Jaffrey Yass, and Arthur Dantchick, all of the Susquehanna Investment Group - funneled most of their contributions through the Students First PAC

Two members of the Susquehanna Group, Joel Greenberg and David Pollard, were subsequently appointed to Governor-elect Corbett's Education Transition Team, with Greenberg appointed as Co-Chairman.

While gubernatorial candidate and Senate Education Committee member Senator Anthony Williams received the lion's share of $5,077,413.07, it is worth noting who received some of the rest.  Over $400,000 went to Legislative Leadership and Education Committee Members:


10/28/2010
$100,000.00
Friends of Joseph Scarnati
Senate President and Senate Ed. Committee Member
10/28/2010
$100,000.00
PILEGGI, DOMINIC FRIENDS OF
Senate Majority Leader
10/18/2010
$50,000.00
Citizens to Elect Dwight Evans
Former Chair of House Appropriations Committee
10/8/2010
$50,000.00
TURZAI, MIKE FRIENDS OF
Incoming House Majority Leader
7/1/2010
$20,000.00
DINNIMAN, ANDY FRIENDS OF
Senate Ed. Committee Minority Chairman
10/15/2010
$20,000.00
FOLMER, MIKE FOR STATE SEN
Senate Ed. Committee Member
10/15/2010
$15,000.00
Citizens for Pat Browne
Senate Majority Whip and Senate Ed. Committee Member
10/15/2010
$10,000.00
Citizens for Jake Wheatley
House Ed. Committee Member
10/7/2010
$7,500.00
QUIGLEY, TOM COM TO ELECT
House Ed. Committee Member
10/18/2010
$7,500.00
YUDICHAK, JOHN CITIZENS FOR
House Ed. Committee Member
11/16/2010
$7,500.00
TOMLINSON, ROBT FOR STATE SEN
Senate Ed. Committee Member
10/15/2010
$7,500.00
BOSCOLA, LISA FRIENDS OF
Senate Minority Caucus Administrator
11/3/2010
$7,500.00
O'PAKE, MIKE FRIENDS OF
Senate Minority Whip(deceased)
10/14/2010
$5,000.00
KIRKLAND THADDEUS FRIENDS OF
House Ed. Committee Member
10/17/2010
$5,000.00
ADOLPH, BILL JR., FRIENDS OF
Incoming House Appropriations Chairman

$412,500.00




 

Two more teachers unions opt for pay freezes

Offer made in Boyertown, Upper Perkiomen to stem program cuts, layoffs.

By Melinda Rizzo, SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL
11:08 p.m. EDT, April 21, 2011
Two more teachers unions in the region have taken up Gov. Tom Corbett's call for wage freezes.
The Upper Perkiomen and Boyertown school districts recently voted to either contract extensions, wage freezes or both in an effort to slow administrative spending cuts, which would eliminate jobs and programs for students.

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/allentown/mc-upper-perkiomen-teachers-pay-freez20110421,0,5004759.story


North Allegheny board hears concerns over budget
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thursday, April 21, 2011
By Sandy Trozzo
The approximately 175 people attending Wednesday's North Allegheny school board work session fell distinctly into two camps: those not wanting to see a tax increase to balance the budget, and those who don't want to see cuts to programs, especially elementary band and orchestra.

SB1: Ask your PTOs, athletics, music and arts boosters to help –
Keep up the contacts with State Senators before they come back to vote on SB1 next week
Because of your efforts, your Senators heard your concerns about SB 1 and halted its vote in the Senate last week.  This has been real progress but we cannot stop here....we need to make sure they know we support their decision to NOT vote for SB 1.  

After you call your Senator, please call the following key Senators and urge them to vote NO on SB 1!
Rich Alloway (R-Franklin, Adams):  717-787-4651
Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster):  717-787-4420
Jane Earll (R-Erie):  717-787-8927
Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery):  717-787-3110
Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia):  717-787-9608
LeAnna Washington (D-Montgomery):  717-787-1427
Mary Jo White (R-Venango):  717-787-9684
Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming):  717-787-3280

 


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