HARRISBURG — The complex budget package that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican legislative leaders are considering will be a tough sell in the General Assembly, legislators and analysts said Wednesday. It includes a higher sales tax, property tax cuts, more education funding and undefined plans to reform public pensions and liquor sales. “I started getting messages on Facebook and on my cellphone: ‘Don't do it,' ” said Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield. “They don't want their taxes increased.” Ward thinks a stopgap budget to help nonprofit groups and school districts is necessary while leaders work out a deal to end the budget impasse, which is in its fifth month.
Well now that it looks like the budget framework is back on -- after some histrionics on Tuesday -- here are few questions we have about the emerging spending plan. Hopefully, details will emerge over the next few days.
When the Rev. Larry Homitsky took over as pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh's North Side in 2008, he called local school principals and offered his services. Tell me what you need, he told them, and I'll do what I can. Many did not respond. They were too busy getting ready for another school year. But Theresa Cherry, principal of Pittsburgh Public's Manchester elementary school, told Homitsky that many of her students lacked basic school supplies. A few days later, Homitsky showed up with a pickup truck full of 300 backpacks, all filled with school supplies. “That got her attention; then she knew I was serious,” Homitsky recalled. “After that, I said, what else can we do?” Shortly after, the Reading and Mentoring Program was born.
- $150 per registrant (No charge if your district has a LEARN Pass. Note: All-Access members also have LEARN Pass.)
- One-hour lunch on your own — bring your lunch, go to lunch, or we’ll bring a box lunch to you; coffee/tea provided all day
- Course materials available online or we’ll bring a printed copy to you for an additional $25
- Registrants receive one month of 100-level online courses for each registrant, after the live class
- Philadelphia area — Nov. 21 William Tennent HS, Warminster (note: location changed from IU23 Norristown)
- Pittsburgh area — Dec. 5 Allegheny IU3, Homestead
- South Central PA and Erie areas (joint program)— Dec. 12 Northwest Tri-County IU5, Edinboro and PSBA, Mechanicsburg
- Butler area — Jan. 9 Midwestern IU 4, Grove City (note: location changed from Penn State New Kensington)
- Allentown area — Jan. 16 Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Schnecksville
- Central PA — Jan. 30 Nittany Lion Inn, State College
- Scranton area — Feb. 6 Abington Heights SD, Clarks Summit
- North Central area —Feb. 13 Mansfield University, Mansfield
Housing and meeting registration is open for Advocacy Institute 2016. The theme, “Election Year Politics & Public Schools,” celebrates the exciting year ahead for school board advocacy. Strong legislative programming will be paramount at this year’s conference in January. Visit www.nsba.org/advocacyinstitute for more information.
Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania
House Majority Leader Rep. Dave Reed, (717) 705-7173
Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Joe Scarnati, (717) 787-7084
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Jake Corman, (717) 787-1377