Heard On The Hill/In City Hall

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Tartaglione Picnic Series Equips Kids For School

Sen. Tartaglione is scheduled to visit Wissinoming Park on Frankford Avenue today to host the second in a series of picnics where she has been giving out school supplies and back packs.
The senator and her staff visited historic Burholme Park last Thursday and handed out free backpacks and school supplies to hundreds of children. The supplies were donated and collected from businesses and residents during Sen. Tartaglione’s recent “Stuff the Bus” event.
“Philadelphia’s school children are smart, passionate and they want to learn,” Sen. Tartaglione said. “Most people know about the financial struggles of the school district and how Republicans in Harrisburg have used them as political pawns.
“These picnics are important ways to give back to the children and make sure they have the things they need for their return to the classroom so they can succeed academically,” she said.
Tartaglione’s first community picnic at Norris Square Park delivered 600 backpacks and school supplies plus free snacks and drinks.

Waters Brings Harrisburg  Right To Your Home

State Rep. Ronald G. Waters, Democratic Caucus secretary, visited a local constituent’s home this week to hear concerns from the community and to answer questions regarding state government as a part of an novel effort known as Harrisburg To Your Home.
“In the past, I’ve held town hall meetings and other more traditional events in order to update constituents about what is happening in Harrisburg,” Waters said. “And while I still think there is value in those type of events, I am always interested in finding new ways to better communicate with my district and I think Harrisburg To Your Home does just that.”
Waters and his staff held their first meeting of Harrisburg To Your Home last week at Terry and Leslie McGirth’s home in Yeadon. The event, which was well-attended by members of the neighborhood and community leaders, focused on topics such as the 2014-15 state budget and the ongoing school funding crisis.
“This unique program stimulates conversation by tearing down the barriers,” Waters said. “This isn’t some stuffy event. I don’t stand behind a podium. It feels like a normal neighborhood event, which I think helps people to feel more free to jump into the conversation or ask a question when they otherwise would have stayed silent.”
Waters intends to continue the Harrisburg To Your Home initiative with regular neighborhood meetings at a rotating setting. For more information about Harrisburg To Your Home, contact Water

Stack Praises CHIP  Eyeglass Policy

State Sen. Mike Stack is urging parents whose children are covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to take advantage of the program’s replacement policy if eyeglasses are damaged or lost.
“There is no such thing as an accident-proof child,” Stack said. “With school scheduled to begin again in a few weeks, parents should get some peace of mind knowing that lost or damaged eyeglasses can be replaced through their insurance.”
After hearing from parents that eyeglass replacement was not being covered by their CHIP insurance providers, Stack contacted state insurance officials and worked with Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), a health advocacy group.

Donatucci, Parker Urge Action On School Funding

State Rep. Maria Donatucci issued the following statement regarding Superintendent William Hite’s announcement on the future of The School District of Philadelphia:
“House Democrats remain ready to return to Harrisburg to discuss possible funding sources for our state’s largest school district. While there are several potential short-term solutions, the legislature should also consider instituting a fair funding formula to ensure all schools obtain the resources they need to operate. Pennsylvania is only one of three states without such a formula, and its absence is clearly represented by the catastrophe facing Philadelphia schools.
“These schools do not operate in a vacuum. Today, Philadelphia schools face severe funding issues, but tomorrow, these problems may plague districts in another part of the state – and they will if we fail to act.”
State Rep. Cherelle Parker, chairwoman of the House Philadelphia Delegation, encouraged Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican leadership in Harrisburg to exercise some responsibility following Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite’s announcement that schools will open on time, but with continued reductions in support staff, public safety officials, resources leading to post-secondary opportunities and transportation assistance.
“The decision to make continual drastic cuts to vital services and keep schools open is no cause for celebration; this is not a victory,” Parker said. “Although the district has prevented a delay in the school year, our educational institutions are being converted into warehousing facilities, where our children have less and less access to academic and support services providing them with a quality education,” Parker said. “The tools to provide the school district the funding it needs to open schools and to ensure that classrooms are adequately staffed lay directly in front of us, untouched. The House Philadelphia Delegation and Democratic Caucus have extended the olive tree on multiple occasions to the governor and House leadership who have expressed their concern. Their failure to call the House members back to session has sent a different message to our city, and more importantly, our students.”
The School District of Philadelphia is the state’s largest school district, and unlike every other school district in the Commonwealth, is overseen by an appointed School Reform Commission, of which Corbett has the majority of appointments to the commission.

Senator Hughes Responds  To Hite’s Announcement

Sen. Vincent Hughes , responding to the announcement that Philadelphia public schools will open on time, said “While I am grateful that students and parents will not have to deal with the disruption of our public schools opening late, I am deeply concerned that the continued lack of adequate funding will further erode conditions in our classrooms. The cuts that were announced today, as well as the ongoing insecurity given the lack of additional funds from Harrisburg, are simply unacceptable. The lack of commitment to our public schools in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth has become a national embarrassment.

Davidson Picnic Back  To School Celebration

State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, is inviting residents of all ages from across the 164th Legislative District to her fourth annual community picnic and back to school celebration, which will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 at the Second Ward Playground, 747 Crosley Ave., Upper Darby. “We’ll have free barbecue and drinks, family games, entertainment, state resources and information for students and families, including book bags,” Davidson said. “Each year since 2011, we have given away over 500 free book bags to families in the 164th Legislative District thanks to the generous support of a host of great sponsors.”
The event will include a book bag giveaway for students, but pre-registration is required for the book bags and is first-come, first-served. To pre-register, call 610-259-7016 or stop by Davidson’s office in the Barclay Square Shopping Center, 1500 Garrett Road, Upper Darby.

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