HARRISBURG, May 26 –The Senate and House Democratic Policy Committees will hold a joint public hearing on paid sick leave at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 28 at Philadelphia City Hall, Courtroom 253, Broad and Market Streets, Philadelphia. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 21 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and House Education Committee Democratic Chairman Jim Roebuck, D-Phila., will co-host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency’s Act 101 program, which provides higher education opportunities for the disadvantaged. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 in the Bossone Research Center Atrium, 3rd Floor at Drexel University, 3140 Market St., Philadelphia. The state-funded Act 101 program allocates money to Pennsylvania schools to provide services to academically and financially disadvantaged students to assist them so they can successfully complete postsecondary study. The current agenda is as follows: 2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel from Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency: Christine Zuzack , vice president of state grant and special programs Ashley Ruth , public affairs technical assistance specialist 2:50 p.m. Panel Two: Antoinette Torres , associate vice provost of enrollment management, Drexel University Robert Miedel , Act 101 director, La Salle University Donna Dickinson , Act 101 director, King’s College Tom Thomas, Act 101 director, Wilkes University 3:30 p.m. Panel Three: Jerome Dean , Act 101 program graduate, Shippensburg University Act 101 students 4 p.m. Closing Remarks The Read more
ABINGTON, May 12 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, May 27 in the Abington School District Administration Building, 970 Highland Ave. The hearing will examine Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, which includes increased early-education funding, property tax reductions and funds to offset recent cuts to Pennsylvania schools. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing, which will feature testimony by local school districts, advocates for education investments and the Wolf administration. The current agenda is as follows: 10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Sarah Galbally, deputy secretary for Office of Policy and Planning, Office of the Governor 10:30 a.m. Panel One: Dr. Amy Sichel, superintendent, Abington School District Dr. Deborah Wheeler, superintendent, Upper Dublin School District Frank Gallagher, superintendent, Souderton School District An Abington school director 11:10 a.m. Panel Two: Cecilia Bradbury, special education teacher, Philadelphia School District Lawrence Feinberg, circuit rider, Campaign for Fair Education Funding Donna Cooper, executive director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth 11:50 a.m. Closing Remarks The event is open to the public. Read more
WILKINSBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Ed Gainey and the House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from several local education officials about the status of pre-K funding in Pennsylvania during a public hearing at Hosanna House. Gainey requested the hearing and served as co-chairman with HDPC Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Every child deserves a quality education regardless of where they live, and it’s vitally important that we reach these students at an early age," said Gainey, D-Allegheny. "Representative Gainey realizes that an investment in early childhood education is an investment in Pennsylvania’s future. Today’s panelists made it clear that a quality start to education will give Pennsylvania’s children the best chance at a successful future," Sturla said. Testifiers expressed overwhelming support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal to increase funding for early childhood education by $120 million in the 2015-16 state budget. Following questioning from Sturla, Michelle Figlar, executive director of Pittsburgh Association for the Education of the Young Child, agreed that the investment would still fall short of providing for all families and noted that an additional 100,000 children would be left unserved. Figlar estimates that a $120 million annual increase over the next five years would allow early childhood educators to reach all Pennsylvania children. State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 28 – The state’s next budget must return Pennsylvania’s focus to real classroom learning along with the fair and robust funding to provide it, said state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, during a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding and property tax reduction Tuesday. The hearing examined Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget, which includes increased education funding and a plan to reduce property taxes. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, co-chaired the hearing, and local- and state-level education experts provided insight. “Schools across Pennsylvania, particularly in Johnstown, have suffered devastating cuts for far too long,” Barbin said. “I’m excited to discuss a new opportunity, with a new governor and new plan, to reverse that course while offering property owners tax relief. The Education Reinvestment Act would increase the state’s share of school funding by 50 percent and cut property taxes by over $10 million in the Greater Johnstown and Westmont Hilltop school districts. It also seeks to increase funding for the districts by nearly $1.5 million.” Barbin added that the districts would save nearly $400,000 in cyber/charter school reform, a plan he calls a good start. Sturla said, “Homeowners and students across the commonwealth need our help. I commend Representative Barbin for taking the time to hear from Read more
JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on education funding and property tax reduction at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 in the Greater Johnstown High School Auditorium, 222 Central Ave. , Johnstown. The hearing will examine Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget that includes increased education funding and a plan to reduce property taxes. Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing, which will feature testimony by local school districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The current hearing agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Beth Olanoff , director of policy, Pennsylvania Department of Education 2:40 p.m. Panel from local school districts: Amy Arcurio , Freshman Academy principal, Greater Johnstown School District Donald Irwin, Jr. , superintendent/business manager, Westmont Hilltop School District 3:30 p.m. Closing remarks The hearing is open to the public, and media is encouraged to attend. Read more
LACKAWANNA, April 9 – State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of implementing a statewide public school employee benefit program. Read more
SCRANTON, April 8 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing with committee chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, to discuss the issue of public education funding. The hearing, held in Scranton High School, focused on how local districts have been impacted by decreased state funding over the last few years, and what Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed budget will mean for them. ”When it comes to our children's education, it is important that we make sure our school districts have the tools to help our children succeed," Flynn said. "Today's hearing was a way for us to learn how districts have struggled to continue to do that in the wake of the Corbett administration's decreases in state funding for education.” Flynn added, “Governor Wolf’s ‘Jobs that Pay, Schools that Teach, and Government that Works’ initiative is one to improve an entire society. By ensuring Pennsylvanians have access to fundamental resources like a good education and well-paying jobs, he’s making it possible for our citizens to better provide for themselves and their families and achieve the American dream.” Echoing that sentiment, Sturla said, "The testimony we heard today here in Representative Flynn's district was not unique in that a majority of school districts across the state have been faced with difficult decisions because of the previous Read more
WILKES-BARRE, April 7 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in education, along with state officials, concerning funding for education in Pennsylvania at a hearing requested by state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne. The meeting was held at Wilkes University and focused on Gov. Tom Wolf’s "Schools that Teach" plan, which is part of the governor’s three-step approach to strengthen the commonwealth. Pashinski said the governor’s proposal will not only help restore funding for education in two years, it will also reduce school property taxes by more than 50 percent to homeowners. "The governor’s plan is truly a win-win for the people of Pennsylvania," Pashinski said. "House Democrats and I believe this proposal is a strong investment to provide a solid education and better future for the youth of this commonwealth and connect the economic improvements to a quality education. "Gov. Wolf’s budget also provides property tax relief, which will help rebuild the middle class in this state." Pashinski co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as House Democratic Policy Committee chairman. "As a former educator, Rep. Pashinski has always been an advocate for quality education," Sturla said. "By initiating this hearing, he is showcasing his strong support in Gov. Wolf’s plan for moving Pennsylvania in an upward and Read more
LACKAWANNA, April 7 – State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna, announced today that he will chair a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to look at his H.B. 348 that would study the cost-effectiveness of a new statewide public school employee health care benefit program.
Video interview by Chairman Sturla related to 4/2/15 HDPC hearing on raising the minimum wage. Read more
Kim’s bill, H.B. 250, would increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour after 60 days and then to $10.10 per hour a year later. It also includes an annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning January 1, 2016. Read more
ERIE, March 25 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from business leaders and representatives from the tourism industry about Pennsylvania’s economy and potential for job growth at a hearing requested by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie. Read more
Requested by state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today on Gov. Tom Wolf’s education funding proposal to collect input from local school superintendents and a fair education funding advocate.
“House Democrats and I believe the key to a better future starts with a solid education that requires a stronger investment from the state,” Harkins said. “Hearing the testimonies of our local superintendents brings the need for, not only more funding, but also a fair funding formula into clear focus.”
ALLENTOWN, March 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in the business, labor and job-training industries, along with state officials, concerning Pennsylvania’s economy at a hearing requested by state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh. The meeting focused on creating a competitive job market, specifically with regard to the manufacturing sector. “House Democrats are leading the way in developing policies that will help create family-sustaining, private-sector jobs,” Schweyer said. “Today’s conversation with leaders in business and labor was incredibly informative and will prove to be most helpful in the coming months.” The hearing was held at Allentown Economic Development Corp., located in the 22 nd Legislative District represented by Schweyer and based in a former Mack Trucks assembly plant transformed into a manufacturing-focused business incubator. "We are happy that Representative Schweyer asked AEDC to host the committee hearing at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center and that he is taking a deep interest in the creation of manufacturing jobs in Allentown,” said R. Scott Unger, AEDC executive director. “These types of jobs provide livable wages to Allentown families that are typically higher than service-sector wages in the city." Schweyer co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “I commend Read more
ALLENTOWN, March 18 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from education experts and school superintendents about the need to properly invest in community schools in the region and across the state, at a meeting convened at the request of state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh.
"The last four years of failed policy has led to the loss of more than 400 teachers from our community schools, it has caused property taxes in Allentown to increase more than 20 percent, and in the end, our children suffer from a lack of opportunities," Schlossberg said. "We need to ensure our teachers have the tools to educate our children to prepare them for a modern workforce and a knowledge-based economy. As we heard here today, the only way to do that is by properly investing in our community schools."
Held at the Community Services for Children, the meeting participants included: David Volkman, acting deputy secretary of Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education; Jane Ervin, executive director, Community Services for Children; Richard Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland School District; C. Russell Mayo, superintendent, Allentown School District; Sandi Gackenbach, president, Parkland Education Association; and Deb Tretter, president, Allentown Education Association.
State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today announced the agenda for the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on education funding in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 23 at the Barber National Institute, 100 Barber Place (136 East Ave.), Erie.
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, hosted the House Democratic Policy Committee today at Curtis Hall to discuss the value of pre-K education funding and how to ensure it’s properly funded in Pennsylvania. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 9 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., served as co-chairman of today’s House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on education funding in Philadelphia. Dawkins requested the hearing, citing the need for a fair education funding formula that would give students in urban districts an equal opportunity at a quality education in Pennsylvania. "As a new legislator, the oath of office is fresh in my mind," Dawkins said. "We have a constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to all Pennsylvania children. We need to do everything in our power to uphold that commitment, regardless of where students live." Those testifying at the hearing included: Pedro Rivera, acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education; Philadelphia City Council members Maria Quinones-Sanchez, 7th District, and Jannie Blackwell, 3rd District; Isaiah Thomas, associate dean of students at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School; Helen Gym, co-founder, Parents United for Public Education; Nelson Diaz, partner at Dilworth Paxson LLP; Brett Schaeffer, communications director and policy analyst at the Education Law Center; Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Education Committee chair of the PA State Conference of NAACP Branches; and Bishop Dwayne Rouster, executive director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild (POWER). Dawkins said each panelist contributed a meaningful perspective on the commonwealth’s need Read more
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, today announced the agenda for the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on pre-K funding in Pennsylvania, which will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at Curtis Hall, 1250 W. Church Road, Wyncote, PA 19095. Read more
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