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Antiquated Basic Education Funding Formula is Hurting Lehigh Valley Homeowners and Students

The following Op-Ed is from Sen. Lisa Boscola (D – Lehigh/Northampton):

The Basic Education Funding Formula is the single largest education funding stream in the commonwealth’s budget.  Until 2014, each year when the General Assembly passed a budget it distributed basic education funding dollars to our school districts based on what they received the year before — regardless of whether the student population grew or shrank.  This led to large disparities throughout the state when it came to where money went versus where it was needed.  Some school districts received over 70 percent of their funding for their school programs from the state while other school districts received as low as 30 percent.  As you can imagine this led to significant inequality in property tax burdens for homeowners.  

No more silence: Why our community must address mental health

Op-Ed by Senator Vincent Hughes

Depression. Anxiety. Mood disorders. Dementia.

We hear about these and other mental health afflictions in our regular conversations, on television shows and even in our music, but it remains a consistent public health crisis in the black community because of the stigma surrounding topic.

Hatred and Gun Violence Have No Place in Pennsylvania. We Must Act.

Op-ed by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Pittsburgh).

I write today with a heavy heart. Far too many times, we have all watched in horror as mass shootings play out across our nation. That nightmare has now come to pass in our own Pennsylvania backyard.

To our friends and neighbors in Squirrel Hill, we admire your spirit, strength and unity. To members of the Tree of Life Synagogue, we offer our heartfelt sympathy and support as you recover from this harrowing tragedy.

To members of the Jewish faith everywhere, we stand with you in solidarity. To our law enforcement and emergency responders, we salute you and thank you for your heroism.

Inaction is Not an Option

By State Senator Wayne Fontana

Americans are fed up with this nation’s gun violence epidemic. It is intolerable.

Horrific accounts of deranged mass murderers using military-grade assault weapons to indiscriminately spray bullets into crowds of innocent people has become part of the regular news cycle. Lives are lost, families are destroyed and communities paralyzed.

State Troopers Raise Retirement Tsunami Warning Flags

Op-ed by state Sen. Jim Brewster

The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association has posted bright flags warning of a potentially devastating trooper retirement tsunami looming just over the horizon. If the storm comes together and the retirement tidal wave hits, it would severely strain police resources, impair our ability to deal with domestic terrorism and dangerously compromise the safety and security of our citizens.

In media reports, the troopers’ association stated that 2,000 Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) troopers will become retirement-eligible within the next three years. These retirements – if they occur in bulk – will swell the current trooper deficit (417 vacancies below the 4,719 authorized complement) and create long-term staffing problems that will reverberate for a decade or more to come.