Here’s some good news for a Monday morning. Last week the PA Senate’s Democratic Caucus placed education #2 on its budget priority list, right after “growing our economy.” It also listed “partnerships with local governments, school districts, and taxpayers” as a priority – a clear reference to the problem of pushing responsibility for school funding down on local school boards who are being forced to raise property taxes. In addition, the Senate Democratic Caucus named $250 million as its goal to “restore education cuts.” I guarantee that we would not be seeing education featured so prominently as a budget priority if it weren’t for all the noise we’ve been making across the state of Pennsylvania.
And what a week of noise! As you know, parents and students held Mock Bake Sales in Harrisburg and Shippensburg last Monday to tell our legislators that we can’t sell enough cookies to make up for the budget gap in our schools. Philadelphia held another very successful Mock Bake Sale on Thursday with a number of legislators in attendance, including PA Senator Vincent Hughes, who is the Democratic Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Representative Eugene DePasquale from York also came (he’s running for Auditor General in the statewide election) as did Rep. Jim Roebuck from West Philly, a member of the education committee (and who is in a tense race with a pro-voucher candidate currently receiving gobs of money from the voucher-fueled Students First PAC).
On Saturday, the fun moved to Pittsburgh where the “WriteNow! Education Matters” event was a smash success at the Children’s Museum. Over 500 people wrote letters, tweeted, and blogged; made videos, posters, and t-shirts; spoke on the radio, created Facebook memes, and more. And there was a simultaneous Mock Bake Sale.
Today there is another Mock Bake Sale in Munhall at the Volunteer Fire Department from 3-6PM. And tomorrow, the final Mock Bake Sale to bookend a fabulous week of events, outside the Squirrel Hill Post Office from 4-5:30PM. Please come and help us send the message that we are happy to pay our taxes to support public education, while we ask Gov. Corbett why he refuses to make all corporations pay their fair share.