In this Update:
Parents have until July 15 to Choose Additional Year of Education for their Child Following Pandemic Disruptions
Parents have until July 15 to take advantage of a new state law empowering them to decide whether their children should advance to the next grade level or be held back a year due to learning disruptions created during COVID-19.
Parents who wish to pursue the additional optional year of education for their children must complete and return a standardized form to their school district by the July 15 deadline. This allows school districts enough time to plan for changes in class sizes for the upcoming school year.
The form is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website, which also features a Frequently Asked Questions page about the new law.
The additional optional year of education was provided by the newly enacted Act 66 of 2021. The option would only apply to the 2021-22 school year to help manage learning loss caused by the pandemic.
2021-22 State Budget in Detail
Last week, I reported that the Senate approved a 2021-22 state budget that holds the line on taxes, supports Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a financial safety net for the future.
This year’s budget was unlike almost any other given the amount of pandemic recovery federal funding involved. The goal was to drive state and federal funds to where they are most needed, while holding back money to balance next year’s budget responsibly. You can take a closer look at the spending plan here.
Bills of Note Passed by the Senate in 2021
Legislation giving citizens a voice in disaster response and protecting the vulnerable during the pandemic received the most attention this year, but the Senate tackled many more issues in the first six months of the two-year legislative session.
From strengthening schools, to reducing regulatory burdens, improving health care and more, here’s a roundup of notable bills passed by the Senate in 2021.
Bipartisan Task Force Recommends Steps to Improve Juvenile Justice System
The bipartisan Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice Task Force recently released a comprehensive final report with policy recommendations that protect public safety, increase accountability, achieve savings for reinvestment, and improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.
The 30-member task force assessed the state juvenile justice system and reviewed data from court and state agencies and examined how practices can better align with what research says works to improve outcomes for youth and families. The task force received input from more than 500 stakeholders.
If adopted, the policy recommendations are expected to safely reduce the population of young people in out-of-home facilities by 39% by 2026, freeing up nearly $81 million for reinvestment.
Avoiding Tick Bites and Lyme Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest statistics (2019), Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of confirmed Lyme disease cases.
The best way to avoid it is to avoid tick bites. Some tips:
You can read more about how to avoid tick bites, as well as how to spot Lyme disease symptoms and other related topics, here.
Attention High School Seniors
Register here: http://spr.ly/6183yrkJR to learn more about how to search for scholarships and about scholarship opportunities through QuestBridge.
The types of available scholarships, free resources for finding scholarships, and tips for applying for scholarships will be discussed. In addition, how high school seniors can apply for the National College Match and qualify for full four-year scholarships will be reviewed.
Our state fairs are back this summer! The fairs not only include livestock exhibitions, but also live entertainment, amusement rides, carnival games and food vendors. More information can be found here:
Bedford County: https://www.bedford-fair.com/p/generalinfo
Cambria County: https://cambriacofair.com/
Clearfield County: https://clearfieldcountyfair.com/
You can find fairs across PA with @PAAgriculture’s Interactive Fair Guide. Search by distance from your location, or filter by county, date range or both. Each fair entry includes dates, a website link & driving directions. https://padeptag.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a4d5896807ba4156984f2b58cff87d64&fbclid.
Addressing Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award
This is a great opportunity for Main Street communities to elevate and celebrate the incredible work of local volunteers who play a pivotal role in revitalizing our downtowns and commercial districts. I strongly encourage eligible communities to apply! The award program is open to all localities of 5,000 people or less. Nominations will be accepted beginning July 15 and the deadline for nominations is October 15.
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