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Ciresi introduces legislation to reform educational tax credit programs

(Feb 23, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 23 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today introduced House Bill 2063 which would reform the commonwealth’s educational tax credit programs, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, to ensure they are better serving those who need them. According to Ciresi, although funding for Pennsylvania’s educational tax credit programs has increased significantly over the past few decades, there has been little oversight to determine their effectiveness or how the money is spent, which has resulted in those in need not getting necessary assistance. “The state has awarded billions of dollars in state tax credits for private and religious school vouchers, but because of how the programs have been set up, it’s been difficult to determine their success and whether the money has been spent properly,” Ciresi said. “My legislation would reform our educational tax credit programs and ensure this money is serving its intended purpose by refocusing the programs on those truly in need of assistance, freeing up more money for scholarships, closing loopholes that have diverted money from students, and expanding data collection.” Ciresi’s legislation would seek to implement multiple recommendations that the Independent Fiscal Office made in 2022 after reviewing the programs’ operations. First, the IFO found that statutory limits on the programs’ data available Read more

Committee hearing focuses on improving public transportation

(Feb 20, 2024)

“Public transportation is a critical lifeline for residents in my district, it is the one thing that connects us as a community,” said Rep. Waxman, who requested and hosted the hearing. “What makes my district in Philadelphia unique is we have more residents that rely on public transit to get to work and their daily needs like doctor appointments, but we also have one of the most active districts for visitors traveling into our district through public transportation.” Read more

Ciresi applauds the nearly $147,000 state investment in the area’s career and technical schools

(Feb 09, 2024)

State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, announced today that the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center has been awarded a grant of $85,000 and the Pottstown School District a grant of $61,949 by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the purchase of new equipment to help train students in skills required for high-demand occupations. Read more

Cepeda-Freytiz applauds governor’s 2024-25 state budget proposal

(Feb 08, 2024)

READING, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, D-Berks, today praised Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 state budget and emphasized that the spending plan excludes new tax hikes. Cepeda-Freytiz said she is particularly excited for the proposed investments in education, mental health and small, disadvantaged businesses. “This budget invests in education at every level. We are talking about the largest increase in K-12 basic education funding in Pennsylvania history,” Cepeda-Freytiz said. “I hail the $1.1 billion increase in basic education subsidies and significant funding for special education, school safety improvements, and universal free breakfast for 1.7 million students it calls for,” Cepeda-Freytiz said. “I applaud the inclusion of feminine hygiene products at no cost to students. The overall allocations for education would certainly help address decades of disinvestment in this area,” she added. The legislator highlighted that Shapiro continues to support mental health services by proposing investing $10 million for 988 crisis line operations to boost Pennsylvania’s crisis intervention services, among other provisions. “Our community is experiencing challenging times when it comes to mental health,” she said. “I am proud to say that I, along with my colleagues, secured $100 million in the current budget Read more

Ciresi highlights record education funding, call for charter reform in Shapiro’s budget proposal

(Feb 06, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, released the following statement regarding Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget proposal, unveiled today before the General Assembly: “Today’s budget address included a strong plan for public education that will help our students, taxpayers, and communities,” Ciresi said. “In addition to proposing a historic investment in education, I was glad to hear the governor’s support for cyber charter reform that would align payments to the actual cost of cyber education. These changes level the playing field for all schools and students, invest in public education, and give a much-needed break to our property taxpayers.” Ciresi said the proposed budget includes an additional $1.1 billion for basic and special education statewide, delivering an increase of almost $9 million to school districts in the 146th Legislative District, including: Pottsgrove School District: $2.9 million. Pottstown School District: $4.8 million. Spring-Ford Area School District: $1.3 million. This includes savings from setting a standardized statewide cyber charter tuition rate, which would return $262 million to public school districts and taxpayers. The reform was part of Ciresi’s legislation (H.B. 1422) that passed in the House with bipartisan support last year. “These investments in education are a first step on a path to making sure every school has the resources Read more

Guzman to chair the Central PA Delegation

(Jan 25, 2024)

READING, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Manny Guzman today announced that he has been appointed to serve as chair of the Pennsylvania House Central Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation. Guzman indicated that he is overjoyed with the appointment as it represents a new platform to amplify his efforts for the region, as well as represents a vote of trust from his colleagues. “My colleagues in Harrisburg know that I am a tireless and persistent advocate for the needs and wants of my district here in Reading and Berks County,” he said. “l am looking forward to continuing to be that voice not only for Reading and Berks County, but for all the members of the Central PA Delegation,” he added. “I am ready to embrace the new challenges and responsibilities that this position entails.” The legislator also explained the fact that he is now chair of the Central PA Delegation can be seen as a positive indicator of the Latino community advancement in the Commonwealth. “As a proud Latino, I feel that I reflect a growing, diverse community. I want to make it easier for kids in Reading and all across the state to see themselves in roles like this one; I want to empower them through my work,” he said. “I hope that seeing someone who looks just like them, who attended their school and ran around on the same playgrounds, will encourage them Read more

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Delco Lawmaker's Bill Calls For Silent Panic Buttons In Classrooms

(Jan 22, 2024)

Borowski joined State Reps. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiuz, Justin Fleming, and Kyle Donahue propose legislation that would require schools to put panic alarms in classrooms. Read more

Guzman touts win in establishing Spanish language option for Nurse Aide Assessment

(Jan 04, 2024)

READING, Jan. 4 – State Rep. Manny Guzman today announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has updated its policy to allow candidates for the Nurse Aide Assessment to take the written oral exam in English or Spanish. The change, which went into effect Wednesday, comes as a result of continuing efforts led by Guzman who had previously introduced legislation that would remove the barrier for people who do not speak English as their first language. “Time after time, I have witnessed how Hispanics are forced to climb unnecessary ladders to achieve their goals,” said Guzman, D-Berks. “Information or services that are critical to them are only provided in English. We need to understand that this is a preventable limitation for hundreds of families in Pennsylvania.” Violet Emory, executive director of the Tec Centro Berks (BLWDC) praised Guzman’s determination and unwavering support in championing this cause on behalf of students at Tec Centro Berks, and students across the entire state. “Guzman’s dedication to leveling the playing field for students with diverse linguistic backgrounds reflects a deep understanding of the importance of equal opportunities in education,” Emory said. “This initiative will undoubtedly have a profound and lasting effect on the workforce in Berks County, opening doors for individuals who may have faced Read more

Over $260,000 in Arts and Culture Funding Awarded

(Dec 27, 2023)

Norristown, PA – December 20, 2023 – Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-17, Montgomery/Delaware) today announced a slate of grant funding awarded to District Seventeen projects. At a meeting yesterday of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), $266,907 was awarded to multiple projects in Senate District Seventeen through the COVID-19 ARPA PA Arts and Culture Recovery Program. The awards are as follows: Expressive Path Inc awarded $10,000 Located in Norristown Borough, Montgomery County. Friends of Laurel Hill & West Laurel Hill Cemeteries awarded $21,972 Located in Lower Merion Township, Montogomery County and Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County. Kelly Music for Life, Inc. awarded $10,760 Located in Haverford Township, Delaware County. Main Line Art Center awarded $31,010 Located in Haverford Township, Delaware County. Norristown Zoological Society DBA Elmwood Park Zoo, Accredited Zoo awarded $95,000 Located in Norristown Borough, Montgomery County. Norristown Zoological Society DBA Elmwood Park Zoo, Performing Arts Organization awarded $21,728 Located in Norristown Borough, Montgomery County. Theatre Horizon awarded $33,508 Located in Norristown Borough, Montgomery County. Wayne Art Center awarded $42,929 Located in Radnor Township, Delaware County. “When we support the arts, not only are we Read more

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Pennsylvania bill would require schools to consider panic alarms

(Dec 26, 2023)

The bill, introduced by Democrat State Representatives Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, Lisa Borowski, Justin Fleming, and Kyle Donahue would add Pennsylvania to the growing list of states requiring or asking schools to consider panic alarms in classrooms. Read more