While a proposed increase in basic education funding in Pennsylvania is appreciated, public school officials that represent small school districts said last week it’s not enough.
Last week, five members of the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools — including East Allegheny School District — held press conferences to appeal to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and the General Assembly to treat school district funding as a crisis that needs more attention.
In addition to EA, school officials in Greater Johnstown, Upper Darby, Lancaster and Bethlehem all presented specific financial information regarding the gap between the revenue they receive each year, and their operating and mandated costs.
In an effort to improve transparency and provide residents more information about the region’s air quality, the Allegheny County Health Department has launched a new dashboard dedicated to tracking hydrogen sulfide.
The dashboard, which was created in partnership with CountyStat, displays up-to-date information from the county’s two hydrogen sulfide monitoring sites located in North Braddock and Liberty Borough, a spokesman said.
Other information on the webpage explains the state’s hydrogen sulfide regulations and what the health department’s Air Quality Program is doing to monitor and enforce Pennsylvania’s standards.
The Allegheny County Hydrogen Sulfide Dashboard is available on the county’s website.
It’s been two weeks since a Commonwealth Court judge ruled Pennsylvania’s system of funding public schools is unconstitutional and must be revamped.
Backers of the ruling are looking toward Gov. Josh Shapiro’s new budget, expected March 7, to address the steps his administration will be taking to move toward compliance with the court decision.
Kristina Moon, senior staff attorney for the Education Law Center, called the victory “historic” for the petitioners: six school districts, parents, the NAACP of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools.
Moon said the judge wrote a “strong” decision, which is 786 pages long.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. (Photo illustration courtesy Pennsylvania Department of Human Services)
Higher fuel prices and a bitterly cold start to this winter mean it will cost more for most people to heat their homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
There is help available for qualifying Pennsylvania households. Applications are being taken for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through April 28 by the state Department of Human Services.
Patrick Cicero, consumer advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said no matter your home’s heating source, you do not have to be behind on your bill to be eligible for a cash grant.
Summer Lee and Austin Davis, shown here at their Mon Valley Youth Expo in 2019, have resigned their respective state legislative seats. Lee has been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, while Davis is slated to become Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor. (Submitted photo courtesy Pennsylvania House of Representatives)
Mon-Yough area voters will be asked to choose replacements for two state legislators who have been elected to higher offices.
State Rep. Austin Davis of McKeesport and State Rep. Summer Lee of Swissvale, both Democrats, submitted their resignations on Wednesday. Davis has been elected lieutenant governor, replacing John Fetterman of Braddock, while Lee has been elected to the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who is retiring.
On Wednesday, state House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia announced that a special election will be held Feb. 7 to replace Davis, Lee and state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, who died in October.
Volunteers and staff from Pittsburghers for Public Transit and members of its “Fair Fares Now” coalition helped spread the word about a discount program during an event Nov. 17 in downtown Pittsburgh. A 12-month experimental program will offer discounted transit rides or $10 credits to eligible Alleghney County residents ages 18 to 64. (Submitted photo courtesy Pittsburghers for Public Transit)
Applications are now being accepted for a pilot program that will provide discounted transit fares for Allegheny County residents on low and fixed incomes.
The discount program is being managed by the county’s Department of Human Services and is limited to people ages 18 to 64 who received benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as of Sept. 30.
Participation is voluntary. Participants will randomly be enrolled in one of three programs and will receive either unlimited free fares on all PRT trips for 12 months; a 50 percent discount for 12 months; or a ConnectCard pre-loaded with $10 in free transportation.
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period ends Dec. 7, so if you’re one of the 2.8 million Pennsylvanians eligible for Medicare, decisions need to be made now for the coming year.
Joanne Grossi, Pennsylvania state president emeritus for AARP, said it is important for anyone on Medicare to review their coverage options, and make sure their plan still meets their health care needs, because the coverage can change from year to year.
She said picking a plan can be complicated, but help is available.
Election Day is busy at most news outlets, but some employees of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are picketing instead — still on strike for what they consider unfair labor practices of the newspaper’s parent company.
Some workers have been off the job since Oct. 6; others since Oct. 18.
Kitsy Higgins, advertising account representative at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, claimed workers at the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper have spent five years with no bargaining agreement, and some people have gone 15 years without pay increases.
“We’re looking for a fair contract, which is reasonable — an increase in wages, especially for 2022; and insurance," Higgins said. “Along with just to bargain in good faith, which we’re not having right now, which is unfortunate.”
Stephen Herzenberg – executive director of Keystone Research Center and co-author of the report – said with smart and worker-friendly policies, the next several years should see a sense of possibility for those workers.