Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In Between the Holidays

It seems that this school year has moved very fast, and we are already moving toward the middle of the second grading period.  Basketball season is here, the varsity boys face their first game this Friday on the road and there is a full slate of games on the 6th, at home, sandwiched in between the high school and elementary chorus concerts.  It's a busy time at school, and somewhere in there is some time to take care of getting ready for the holidays at home.  With all of that going on, just remember that Jesus is the reason for the season, and our main purpose in life is to glorify God for this gift that was given to us.  Steven Curtis Chapman has a new song out, "Do Everything," about this very thought. 

As far as the school is concerned, there are plenty of opportunities to serve and give.  Let me share a few needs with you.

We are still collecting for our faculty Christmas bonuses.  The teachers deeply appreciate the generosity of the school community at this time of the year.  If you've been a little bit blessed this year, anything you can share will be deeply appreciated.

Some volunteers are needed to help decorate the gym, and then undecorate the gym, for the elementary and high school Christmas musicals.  Oh, and by the way, the high school program will be Monday at 7, and the elementary program on Thursday at 7.  You don't want to miss either of those.

Our elementary staff was making good use of a copier at their end of the hall, saving them trips down the hall as well as providing some relief for our main copy machine.  But it has developed some issues that either need repair, or the copier needs to be replaced.  There isn't a service contract on it.  If you know of a company or business that wants to get rid of one of theirs, or someone who might help service ours, we'd appreciate knowing about it.

The Skills for Living eighth grade class is in the process of redecorating the main hallway inside the main entrance and where the offices are located.  They are color coordinating picture frames, re-arranging plaques, trophys and furniture, and doing a good job of brightening the appearance of the entrance to the school.  There may be a few small items they could use.  Watch the Weekly Transfer for a list of things they may need or contact the school office.  

Thank you in advance for watching out for the needs of our school.  Merry Christmas!  May God abundantly bless you in the coming new year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Update on Senate Bill #1, the School Choice Proposal

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a scaled down version of Senate Bill 1, left over from last year's legislative session, otherwise known as the "voucher proposal" or the "school choice bill."  It is now being considered by the house.  It has Governor Corbett's full support. 

This is a scaled-down version of the original proposal.  The limits on income levels were raised, and the qualifications for underperforming schools dropped.  The best estimates now are that the bill will provide educational alternatives to about 70,000 students in poor performing schools in Pennsylvania, mainly in the inner cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  However, on the bright side, there was a substantial increase in EITC allowance.  That makes our effort to increase our EITC participation even more important, since the limits have been raised and more companies will be allowed to participate.

If you haven't already done so, please contact your representative and voice your support for this bill.  At the present time, the EITC provisions are most important to us, but as the voucher program grows, the time will come within a four year period when PCS families may qualify either on a limited basis, or fully, depending on their income level and size of family.

As you might expect, the opposition to this is sizeable, and well-funded.  Unions and other vested interests who benefit from the gigantic infusion of capital into the public education system are fighting this with a media campaign of distortion and inaccuracy, and are mobilizing their resources to discourage legislators from voting for this by creating the impression that support for it may cost them their position at the polls.  It is important for us to counter that misinformation with the truth.  The fact is that educational choice, where it is being offered, is producing positive results from an academic perspective, which is the interest claimed by the state. Placing a call to your state representative would go a long way toward helping move this bill closer to the Governor's signature.

Government interference and regulation in the education business is one of the reasons why public schools do not generally achieve the level of success that parents want to see.  This bill will not increase any government regulation on the schools that receive the students who get state vouchers because their is no direct exchange of funding.  We would, of course, not support any legislation which would come with increased government interference in what we do.

We have several businesses which have expressed an interest in EITC support for PCS, and the increased allowances under this legislation would make it possible for their applications to be processed and approved.  So we have every reason to be supportive of this legislation.