In line with Julie’s prayer last Sunday about the impossibility of the staffing plan for the schools next year and the disastrous budget cutbacks facing Philadelphia’s public schools… and in keeping with the commitments we have made through POWER towards organizing to improve our public schools, we share the following information from the McCall School (with which Old First has related to as “our neighborhood school” for years).
As a church, we are free to advocate for justice as we understand it according to our faith. (We are not, however, because of the division of church and state, to weigh in on specific candidates running for office.)
Might we, as a daily exercise of our faith between now and May 31, advocate with our state representatives for just funding for the Philadelphia public schools, that all children might receive the education they deserve? Could you make some calls? Or send some letters?
It’ a complicated plan to get make sure all the folks in Harrisburg hear from us AND feel some pressure. It involves 8 letters or phone calls a day between now and May 31.
You will see the instructions below.
The original message had links to all the the leaders contact information, but I don’t have time to reproduce them all in this e-mail. If you want to take this on, send me an e-mail, and I will forward the original with all the links. But even if you can only do a few calls and letters, that will make a difference. I have added the contact info. for the first 8 contacts.
Here’s the instructions from McCall’s Home and School Association:
“Thanks to all of the McCall community’s hard work, City Council is aware of how strongly we feel about funding our schools. Now it is time to make sure Harrisburg is just as aware.
I have listed 4 to 8 people to call or write to every day.
The timeframe is designed to be completed by May 31, before the legislature comes back into session on June 3.
IF YOU KNOW OF PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENTS OUTSIDE PHILLY, PLEASE FORWARD THIS (or ask Michael for the original to forward) TO THEM.
First, you should contact your state Senator and Representative, available here:
Next, if you click on the links below, you will be taken directly to the legislator’s home page. Please call them at their district office (they won’t be in Harrisburg) or write a letter (e-mail is less effective).
And when you call, ask to leave a message with the Senator/Representative along the lines of: “It is crucial to fund public schools in the Commonwealth.”
You can leave your name and address (and explain that you’re calling from out of the district because of the legislator’s role on, for example, the Appropriations or the Education Committee).
You can also add one more sentence on how Philadelphia is making hard choices (union contract, city funding, etc.), but there’s no more fat to cut without laying off nurses, guidance counselors, art, music, etc.
In addition to Governor Corbett, we will spend most of our efforts targeting the most significant Republicans. The Democrats agree with us on this. We are targeting those in leadership and on the Appropriations and Education Committees. Our tone should always be respectful, as these messages are most likely to be passed on.
Below, I’ve organized the legislators by committee. And I’ve indicated in bold the most important 8 on the list:
1) Governor Corbett, 225 Main Capitol Building; Harrisburg, PA; 17120 717-787-2500 (a call and a letter both are warranted)
2) Senator Pileggi (floor leader) and
3) Senator Corman (floor leader) , and
4) Representative Turzai (appropriation chair, and
5) Representative Adolph (appropriations chair)
These are the top 5 government officials on these issues.
For these first 8, please consider writing a letter as well. A deluge of letters is difficult to ignore!
If you want to involve your children in this process, these 5 or 8 letters would make excellent public-service and political education projects
(Here’s the rest of the contacts, if you can take this up as a daily spiritual discipline; for the links, again, ask me to forward the original that has all the links! — Michael)
Thurs. 5/16 Senate Leadership
Dominic Pileggi Floor Leader (also Appropriations) **Letter also
Jake Corman Appropriations Committee Chair (also Education Committee) **Letter also
Jim Cawley Lieutenant Governor
Patrick M. Browne Whip (also Education)
Fri. 5/17 (Senate Leadership, continued)
Joseph B. Scarnati III President Pro Tempore of Senate (also Appropriations and Education) **Letter also
Michael L. Waugh Caucus Chair (also Appropriations)
Robert D. Robbins Caucus Secretary
Gordner, John R. Caucus Administrator (also Appropriations)
Edwin B. Erickson Policy Committee Chair
Mon. 5/20 Senate Appropriations Committee http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=3&CteeBody=S
Tomlinson, Robert M. Vice Chair (also Education)
Argall, David G.
Greenleaf, Stewart J. (also Education)
Tues. 5/21 (Senate Appropriations Committee, continued)
Rafferty, John C., Jr.
Smucker, Lloyd K. (also Vice Chair, Education)
Vance, Patricia H.
Vogel, Elder A., Jr.
Wed. 5/22 (Senate Education Committee) http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=23&CteeBody=S
Folmer, Mike (Chair) **Letter also
Miscellaneous (Some of the most important Democrats…)
Hughes, Vincent J. Sen. Democratic Minority Chair, Appropriations
Dinniman, Andrew E. Sen. Democratic Minority Chair, Education
Roebuck, James R., Jr. House Democratic Chair, Education
Markosek, Joseph F. House Democratic Chair, Appropriations
Thurs. 5/23 (House leadership) http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/house/officers.cfm
Samuel H. Smith Speaker
Mike Turzai Majority leader **Letter also
Stan Saylor Majority whip
Sandra Major Majority Caucus Chair
Mike Vereb Majority Caucus Secretary
William F. Adolph Jr. Appropriations Chair **Letter also
Richard R. Stevenson Majority Caucus Administrator
Dave Reed Majority Policy Committee Chair
Fri. 5/24 (House Appropriations Committee) http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=4&CteeBody=H
O’Neill, Bernie, Secretary (and Education Committee, Subcommittee Chair on Basic Education)
Petri, Scott A., Vice Chair
Ellis, Brian L.,
Killion, Thomas H.,
Millard, David R., Subcommittee Chair on Education
Tues. 5/28 (House Appropriations Committee, continued)
Aument, Ryan P. (also Education)
Christiana, Jim (also Education)
Everett, Garth D.
Grell, Glen R.
Wed. 5/29 (House Appropriations Committee, continued)
Grove, Seth M. (also Education)
Pyle, Jeffrey P.
Sonney, Curtis G.
Thurs. 5/30 (House Education Committee) http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/CteeInfo/index.cfm?Code=12&CteeBody=H
Clymer, Paul I. Chair **Letter also
Rapp, Kathy L.
English, Harold A.
Fri. 5/31 (House Education Committee, continued)
Gillen, Mark M.
Simmons, Justin J.
Taylor, John- Republican Rep. from Philly
Yes, I know this is a long list.
But the stakes could not be higher.
Every legislator on this list needs to know how important public education is to our children and to the future of our state.
Thanks for whatever you can do!
McCall Home & School Association
Government Advocacy Chair