Receiving a letter like this makes our day!

Especially Nathaniel’s!

Hi,

My daughter Reece and I just wanted to send you a quick email to say thanks. Reece is in girl scouts, and is currently working towards earning her “Inside Government” badge. She’s been learning about the branches of government, how to be an active citizen, etc.. Her troop leader suggested they do some research at home and explore some political and government sites and she found your page https://wcborodems.org/links/ . It’s been so helpful to her I wanted to reach out and thank you. I haven’t seen her this invested in something in a long time, and I’m grateful she’s committed to such an important topic. Maybe she will run for office someday:).

When I told Reece I was going to email and thank you, she suggested that I let you know about this other article she found on “The Powers of the Executive Branch” at https://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/organizational-leadership/powers-of-the-executive-branch/ . She thought it would be a good addition to the resources & websites on your page. She used your resources so much she wanted to help contribute in some small way – hopefully you find it as useful as she has!

Thanks again!:)

Warmly,
Brooke & Reece

THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM

The Chester County (Pennsylvania) Democratic Committee believes in Freedom, Fairness, and Opportunity for all Americans, regardless of what they believe, who they are, and where they came from. Join CCDC in making Chester County a better place for all!

We have a chance to fundamentally shape the future of our country.
But that will only happen if all of us work together — starting right now.

Watch Our Video!

Every four years, the Democratic Party puts together our party platform, the ideas and beliefs that govern our party as a whole.

What follows is our 2016 platform — our most progressive platform in our party’s history and a declaration of how we plan to move America forward. Democrats believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.

This party platform was voted on and passed by our membership at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016. The platform will be updated and re-approved at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Download 2016 Party Platform PDF

Platform Contents

To read the entire platform, choose a section to jump ahead or scroll down.

Preamble

Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class

Create Good-Paying Jobs

Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality

Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities

Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

Provide Quality and Affordable Education

Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans

Principled Leadership

Confront Global Threats

Protect Our Values

A Leader in the World

Vouchers Are Back! Senate Education Committee to Vote on Senate Bill 2 Tomorrow

email from PA Schools Boards Association, 12/11/17

URGENT: Tell your Senator to vote NO on Senate Bill 2

After a failed attempt to run voucher legislation under Senate Bill 2 (Sen. DiSanto, R-Dauphin) in October, the Senate Education Committee has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 12, to push out the bill. This legislation creates a voucher program for taxpayer-dollars to be taken from public school subsidies and given to nonpublic schools. Your calls and emails are needed immediately to stop this flawed scheme from being moved on a fast track.

Under the bill, parents of students in low-achieving schools can receive funds in the form of Education Savings Accounts (ESA) to attend a participating nonpublic school and for other expenses. Low achieving is defined as the lowest performing 15% of elementary and secondary public schools, based on PSSA and Keystone Exam scores. (This does not include charter schools or CTCs.) Those school districts would see their basic and special education subsidies reduced by the amount calculated for each participating student, with that money put into an ESA account for parents to use for “qualified education expenses.”

We need to block passage of Senate Bill 2 and this latest attempt to sell vouchers. If the bill is approved by the Education Committee, it could go to the full Senate for a vote. Please take a moment to contact your senators, even if they are not on the Education Committee. …send a letter to your senator or craft your own message using the talking points below to make the case against vouchers. (click here for links to additional contact information for senators.)

Talking Points:

There is no academic oversight or accountability for voucher schools. There is no public, objective way to evaluate how well private schools meet student needs because there is no oversight of the education provided at private schools. There is no state accountability for academic outcomes, no state assessments for students required, no oversight or regulation of the education provided at private schools. How can parents who are considering enrolling at a school properly assess the value of the school? How can taxpayers who are funding this program measure its success?

The few provisions intended to provide some accountability, both academically and financially, are shallow, inconsistent and vague. The bill does little to prevent fraud and abuse of the system, while serving to take more money from the public school system to subsidize private education.

Vouchers reduce fair access to educational opportunity for all students and are unresponsive to the issue of poverty. They divert scarce resources from public schools that serve all students to pay for private schools for a few. Many of the lowest-performing schools are already struggling financially and cannot afford to receive less resources.

Vouchers do nothing to improve the education of all students. Creating a separate education system does nothing to address inadequacies or issues with the existing public school system. Most high-poverty schools still operate with fewer instructional resources and supports compared to schools in wealthy communities.

We should focus on fixing public schools – where 90% of children go – not taking money away from them for the 10% who go to private schools. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund both private and public schools. Private schools pick and choose students. Public schools do not pick and choose their students. Public schools are open to every child.

Vouchers weaken the rights of students, especially those with with disabilities because private schools are not subject to federal special education law and can deny services to students. Students in public school are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education. They have protections related to discipline and mandated help for behavioral issues. None of these protections are applicable to private school students. Students with disabilities and their families must waive hard-won legal protections when enrolling in a nonpublic school.

Vouchers will create greater fiscal distress/budgeting problems for school districts. With no deadlines, timelines or notifications required about students who will participate in the program, school districts cannot prepare for the impacts on their budgets. In addition, vouchers divert resources from public education but do not adequately reduce costs. When a student leaves a school district to enroll in a nonpublic school, the district’s fixed, semi-fixed and some variable costs associated with that student do not just disappear (costs such as building operations and maintenance, utilities, technology, food service, staff salaries and benefits, etc.). And requirements to transport students to nonpublic schools within a 10-miles radius will increase transportation costs for affected districts.

Tell your senator that the ESA voucher plan robs public schools to enrich private schools. This amounts to a taxpayer giveaway to private schools. Senate Bill 2 falls short of the mark in too many areas to be worthy of support.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts!

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/oj32WWQWrXEE5sGsNAmdsg

Schools oppose state ballot question

Letter in Daily Local News, 10/22/17, from WCASD superintendent Jim Scanlon

As a supporter of our public schools and the belief that every American child deserves the right to a quality public education, I’m writing to ask for your action at the polls regarding a legislative proposal that could seriously impact the quality of our schools.

Many educators are very concerned about a November 7 ballot question that asks whether the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to allow local taxing authorities to exempt homeowners from paying property taxes. We strongly feel the answer to this question should be “NO.”

This ballot question doesn’t include the critical piece of information that according to state law, another source of revenue must be created to replace local property taxes. Legislators are considering that the new revenue source could come from increases in other taxes, in the form of Senate Bill 76. Under SB 76, Income Tax will go up from 3.07% currently to 4.95%, sales tax will go from 6% to 7% and the list of items to be taxed would increase. Those new revenue sources would go directly to the state, and it would be up to the state to determine how much each school district would receive.

This means that under this new funding formula, the state could decide to give more money to urban districts and less to suburban ones, like West Chester. Or, they could determine another complicated funding formula that would once again leave funding up to the state and take away our local control.

Harrisburg struggles to balance its own budget. The General Assembly currently doesn’t have a revenue budget for the current year. How can we leave our own school funding up to them?…

keep reading at Daily Local News. See also downloadable statement at WCASD. The WCASD School Board voted 8-0 on Oct. 23 to recommend a No vote. We need to protect ourselves against more budget antics in H’burg, where months ago the R majority passed an unfunded budget. You can’t just hope money will appear from somewhere!

Ballot Question Causes Concern

press release from Lisa Longo

Why are we allowing budgets to be balanced on the backs of children?

Phoenixville, PA, October 10, 2017– Serious questions are being raised about a ballot question approved by the PA Legislature. This question is asking voters to approve an amendment to our State Constitution, potentially reducing or eliminating taxes based on the assessed value of the primary residence of a homeowner. If this ballot question passes, it would force an increase of other local taxes, such as the Earned Income Tax (EIT), causing irreparable harm to the working poor and middle class.

This ballot question, based on legislation drafted by Republican legislators, leaves open the replacement for these taxes which fund both County and local public services as well as public schools. Some of the ideas floated include an increase of sales and income taxes. The potential harm to those on a fixed income including Veterans, disabled and retired taxpayers cannot be ignored. This regressive tax plan, supported by conservative organizations, including anti-tax groups, anti-public school groups, and groups that want to privatize and create for-profit schools, has not been endorsed by a single organization that serves workers, students, Veterans, retired taxpayers, or disabled taxpayers. This becomes a very clear issue of moving the tax burden to those who can least afford it.

“While property tax absolutely needs reform, this is not the way to create a stable funding plan,” explained Lisa Longo, a school board member and education advocate. “I believe we need to discuss a freeze on property taxes for those on a fixed income and limit it to a percentage of income. I would favor a Constitutional Amendment that allows us to have a progressive tax and develop equity funding for school districts but not one that potentially creates harm to both our students and our community.”

Property tax reform is a hot topic in Pennsylvania and many other states; it should be noted that there is no state that has eliminated all property tax to fund schools.

Many Pennsylvania residents question why state funding has decreased. In 2006 the Democratic-controlled legislature started to move to a higher percentage of overall funding from the state, with a goal of 50% total funding. Once Republicans took control of the legislature the trend reversed. Currently the state provides only 35% of the funds needed and local taxes are forced to make up the difference.

The PA State Constitution requires education funding for all students. Why are legislators passing the buck to local authorities who are forced to make up the difference by increasing property taxes? Another community leader asked, “Instead of passing the debt to our children and playing 3 card monte with our children’s future, why won’t the Republican controlled legislature pass a severance tax on Marcellus shale drillers?”

And there are other concerns about tax revenues:

Longo explains, “Corporate tax revenue has decreased at both the State and Federal levels but school districts must still provide mandated services. When the legislature cuts funds to education, it is our children and families that are forced to pay the price. We see a nationwide increase in the number of children attempting suicide and diagnosed with anxiety and depression, as a society, do we want to cut funds from children to give tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest among us? Who is going to protect our children?”

And others also voiced their concern. Jeremy Winch, Communications Chair of the East Penn Democratic Club, added, “This referendum has the potential to harm our children for years to come by negatively impacting funding for public education in the Commonwealth. Rest assured that, if passed, the resulting shell game will not cut taxes.”

# # #
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lisa Longo at 215-527-9705 or email at lisa@consultcts.com.

H.R. 610 Choices in Education Act: a disaster if it passes in Congress

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, February 16, 2017

A pro-education rally at 21 West Market St. in West Chester tomorrow Friday Feb. 17, 11:30a.m. to 12 p.m., is specifically directed against House Bill 610, which was introduced in Washington last month.

The bill’s own short description does not do justice to the damage this bill would cause…

read more at Politics: A View from West Chester

Exceptional Candidates for WCASD Director

from Better Direction for WCASD, 10/20/15

I am emailing you today to ask you to vote for Kate Shaw and Sue Tiernan for WCASD School Director for Region 1 on Tuesday, November 3rd. I am voting for Kate and Sue because they have proven that they serve the best interests of our school district and community. Can they count on your vote as well?

Both Kate and Sue have extensive backgrounds in education. Kate brings vast knowledge in developing and implementing educational policies, and Sue was instrumental in forming the board’s Legislative Action Committee to curb unfunded mandates, and she completed a three-year plan to address current and projected fiscal realities of the district. 

The schools board’s thoughtful budgeting allows WCASD to maintain the lowest millage in the county and helps to keep our property values high. Even the Daily Local News agrees! In an April, 2015 editorial, the DLN commended the board for the 2015-2016 budget – for appropriately limiting the impact to taxpayers while not drawing off the healthy reserve. Kate and Sue have shown they can balance the needs of the students and the taxpayers, now they deserve our vote.

Please vote for Kate Shaw and Sue Tiernan on Tuesday, November 3rd

In case you don’t know them already, here is some information on this dynamic and highly qualified team… Continue reading

WCASD REGION 1 CANDIDATES Kate Shaw & Sue Tiernan

Kate & Sue have spent their entire careers in education. They are exceptionally well-qualified to serve the West Chester Area School District.

Many of you have generously given to Kate & Sue’s campaign fund and they are very grateful to you. The fact that many people outside of Region 1 have contributed is a testament to the character and qualifications of these two women.

With a month to go they are in need of another $1,000 to get their message out to Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Many of these voters don’t know Kate and yes, some not even Sue.

As you know, there are no guarantees on the outcome of this or any election. We have yet to see what their opponents will throw at them.

Kate and Sue have run a dignified campaign and will continue to; however, they have to get their message out, which is about keeping the WCASD School District strong, which keeps our property values high and our children’s education an A+.

Thank you to those who have contributed; if you can make another donation, it would be greatly appreciated. If you haven’t yet, please consider a contribution at this time.

Please remember to vote on Election Day, November 3. If you would like a lawn sign, please reply to this email with your name and address and we’ll get it to you. If you can spare a few hours to be at the polls for Kate and Sue, please let us know.

This election is very important and getting out the vote will elect Kate & Sue and keep our School Board strong and moving forward. We do not want to go backward. Please help.

Many thanks!

Checks can be sent to Better Direction Region 1, P.O. Box 66, West Chester, Pa 19381

In the Memo write Kate & Sue

Online donations: http://betterdirection4wc.com/Donate.html

Pre-K, schools concerned over state budget impasse

By Candice Monhollan, Daily Local News, 8/29/15

UPPER PROVIDENCE >> Almost two months into the state budget impasse, with no end currently in sight, schools and Pre-K classrooms are getting ready to welcome students to the 2015-16 year.

Unfortunately, that welcome comes with a strained smile as the impasse threatens many programs and puts a large toll on school districts across the Commonwealth.

“We typically receive the first of our subsidy payments in August, but that date has come and done,” said West Chester Area School District Superintendent Jim Scanlon. “Because we only receive about 15 percent of our funding from the state, we are still in pretty good shape to start the school year.”

Though the district will have no trouble opening Aug. 31, the impasse does hit it in regards to charter schools.

“There has been an impact to our charter school payments as we were expected to make those payments in August,” Scanlon said. “Without state funding, we withheld those payments, but we received work last week that the state will deduct payments from our tax-relief allocation, which we were supposed to receive this week.”

Charter schools will cost the district roughly $9.1 million during the 2015-16 school year.

“The state will be deducting the past month’s payments from our subsidy,” Scanlon said. “If all charters applied for the deduction, we will be paying one month’s worth of charter school payments from that $1.8 million in tax-relief funding, or approximately $758,000.”…

read more at Daily Local News