News & Brews August 11, 2023

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Budget disagreements linger

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives a state budget update, given the chunk of spending that can’t be implemented because code bills have not yet been passed. A spokesperson for House Democrat Leader Matt Bradford said all parties are meeting, but GOP Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman’s spokesperson challenged that claim. Democrats are pushing for an additional $100 million in Level Up funding for the state’s poorest school districts. Republican Rep. Jesse Topper countered that if Level Up gets money, so, too, should the PASS Scholarship Program.

Op-Ed: ‘It’s time to save our students’

Republican state Rep. Martina White (Philadelphia) writes in the Delaware Valley Journal that Pennsylvania is having an SOS—or Save our Students—moment. “And as we learned at a recent Senate Education Committee hearing, time is of the essence to throw a lifeline to our most vulnerable students trapped in consistently failing schools.” She warns that kids don’t have time to wait. “We know one year of learning loss can translate into thousands of dollars in lost lifetime earnings. We know two out of three Pennsylvanians support school choice for students enrolled in the worst performing schools. We know we need education options for parents and students now.”

Op-Ed: Dem betrayal leaves kids in ‘broken schools’

GOP state Rep. Kristin Marcell (Bucks County) writes in RealClear Pennsylvania that  “compromise requires give and take from each side.” She notes, “Senate Republicans held up their end of this bargain.” They ceded some things to achieve the goal of “rescuing kids from consistently failing schools and giving them an opportunity for a brighter future.” Yet House Democrats have shown a “refusal to give an inch.” She concludes, “Their obstinacy is condemning Pennsylvania’s vulnerable children to failing schools – schools that many House Democrats themselves wouldn’t dream of allowing their own children to attend.”

Education Funding Commission to hold listening tour

The state’s Basic Education Funding Commission has announced dates for a statewide tour of hearings on how to fix Pa.’s education funding system. The hearings, which kick off in September in Allentown, follow the Commonwealth Court’s ruling that our system of funding education is unconstitutional. Ten meeting dates and locations have been announced, and the public is also invited to submit comments and questions.

PGH Starbucks workers seek to remove union

The mainstream news media is quick to cover workplace efforts to unionize, but you’re less likely to see eagerness to cover stories about workers’ efforts to remove a union. Employees at a Pittsburgh Starbucks have filed a decertification petition with the National Labor Relations Board. They’re asking for a vote to determine whether to remove the Starbucks Workers United (SBWU) union as their exclusive representative. The employee who submitted the petition said, “SBWU union bosses have not looked out for the interests of me and my fellow employees. We simply want to exercise our right to vote out a union that we don’t believe has done a good job….”

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