Pennsylvania Music Education Advocacy News

Here are the latest updates related to music education public policy in Pennsylvania.
 Governor Wolf has asked for additional funds for education but Republicans in the Legislature aren’t ready to sign off on that just yet.  While specific details of any budget details haven’t been released, here are some of the rumors circulating around Harrisburg.
  • Republicans members of the General Assembly are looking for places to make cuts in Pennsylvania government before considering other forms of new revenue
  • Republicans were not pleased that Governor Wolf vetoed H.B. 805 which would have eliminated seniority based furloughs for public school teachers.  That veto may make it tougher for Governor Wolf to get extra money into education as Republican leaders have threatened to make the furlough legislation a bargaining issue in the additional funding discussion
  • There seems to be more optimism that a budget will be enacted on time or at least far sooner than last year for a variety of reasons. Among those reasons: it’s an election year and Governor Wolf and legislative leaders have keep negotiations quiet this year and have not put their budget talks on public display… yet.
Your voice is extremely important in getting a budget enacted that will include an increase in funding to the basic education subsidy. We’re asking you to join our friends at PMEA (The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) and take action by sending an email to your representatives in the legislature.  It’s takes only minutes for your voice to be heard!
We have great news that the Pennsylvania Legislature sent Governor Wolf H.B. 1552 which will enact a Fair Funding Formula for Pennsylvania’s schools. The General Assembly came to an agreement on a new formula that will count actual enrollment, plus a number of other factors including student poverty, local tax effort, district sparsity, and the number of students learning English.  As the formula stands, only new state education funds will be run through this formula.  Of course, a funding formula is only as good as the money going through it which is why it’s so important for you to join us in contacting state legislators urging them to put more money into education: We’re asking you to join our friends at PMEA (The Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) and take action by sending an email to your representatives in the legislature. 
Legislation has been introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate to create a Pennsylvania Council on Jazz.  Under SB 1234, the five-member Council on Jazz would mirror the PA Council on the Arts. Council members would be appointed by the governor and the General Assembly. It would be responsible for promoting, marketing, encouraging, educating, protecting and preserving jazz in the commonwealth.  The council would award grants that fulfill the responsibilities of the council, and it would get administrative support from the Council on the Arts.

State Policy Update provided by Mark Despotakis, Progressive Music Director of Market Development