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Fearing state budget cuts to education, elsewhere, nonprofits set talks, advocacy

March01/ 2011

Even before Gov. Tom Corbett announced deep education funding cuts in his budget on March 8, Arlene Levy believed there was reason to worry about the future of public education.

“The major concern we have,” said the co-president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, “is that funding for public education is adequate — to make sure public school students can have a proper education, whether they are regular education or special education.” Will there be new, unfunded special education rules? she wondered. And where will the state legislature’s fiscal priorities be — on public schools or elsewhere?

To discuss and influence the budget before it passes, the League and other groups are already calling for several public meetings.

The PA Budgetwatch Series, focused on budget changes that may affect all nonprofits, will have its first session on March 25, 2-4 p.m. at the Heinz History Center in the Strip District. Featured speakers are Karen Snider, the state’s former Secretary of Public Welfare, and Chuck Kolling, a lobbyist and government relations professional for Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney LLC. The Series is sponsored by the United Way of Allegheny County, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, The Forbes Funds, The Pittsburgh Foundation and Dewey & Kaye.

The League of Women Voters has set four gatherings in March, titled “State Funding for Public Education: Progress or Retreat?” and featuring Ron Cowell, president of the Education Policy and Leadership Center and former chair of the state House’s Education Committee.

The sole evening meeting (March 15, 5 p.m.) is at Pittsburgh CAPA High School downtown. It includes a light supper and is co-sponsored by a variety of groups, from A+ Schools and the Black Political Empowerment Project to the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children and the Coro Fellows.

Daytime meetings are March 10, 12:30 p.m., at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library; March 11, 1:30 p.m., at the Squirrel Hill Public Library, and March 16, 10 a.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church in McCandless.

Do Good:

• Lend your voice to a League meeting: For more information, email or call 412-261-4284.

• RSVP for the PA Budgetwatch meetings: Click here by March 11 to register. For more info, click here or call Jason Bernard at 412-434-1335.


Writer: Marty Levine

Source: Arlene Levy, League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh