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Social Studies teacher Seth Roper and his program SHINES (Support, Hope, Included, Non-Judgmental, Encouraging, Strength) - A grief and loss support group for students at the high school level who have lost a family member or friend.
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HARRISBURG, PA (May 7, 2019) – Rich Askey, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, today issued the following statement on House Bill 800, which would nearly double total spending on the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program (from $110 million to $210 million). The bill would also impose an automatic 10 percent escalator on EITC spending in future years and raise the household income eligibility level from $85,000 to $95,000 per year.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to approve the bill today.
“Adding $100 million in new tax credits to the EITC program to benefit a limited number of students does not reflect the current needs and priorities of ordinary Pennsylvanians.
“The EITC program has received hundreds of millions of dollars since it started, but a lack of accountability and transparency means policymakers have little information to evaluate if the program is working.
“We are particularly concerned that the bill would raise the household income eligibility level for the EITC to $95,000 — a 90 percent increase in the eligibility level since the program began in 2001. Meanwhile, the state’s minimum wage hasn’t been increased in a decade, and Pennsylvania’s minimum teacher salary remains unchanged at $18,500 for more than 30 years.
“Lawmakers should carefully consider whether a major expansion of an unaccountable tax credit program should come ahead of other priorities like increasing salaries for Pennsylvania’s lowest-paid teachers to address a growing teacher shortage.”
Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 181,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.