Strengthening Our Schools

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Senator Teplitz is passionate about ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to a quality education. He has spent years working on education policy throughout his career in state government.

On a personal level, Senator Teplitz understands the importance of supporting schools in Central Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the Central Dauphin School District, and his children are in the Susquehanna Township School District. He has taught at the college and law school levels, and he is the husband, son, and brother of local educators.

Senator Teplitz believes we must improve the system of funding public education in the commonwealth so that it is equitable, stable, fiscally responsible, accountable, and transparent. At the basic education level in particular, the focus should be on targeted investments in proven reforms like early childhood education, smaller class size, tutoring, technology, and before- and after-school programs. Senator Teplitz has worked closely on this issue both as a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Basic Education Funding Commission, a 15-member bipartisan group of legislators, as well as administration officials, that developed a new formula for allocating state funding to Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts.

Access to quality, affordable higher education is also a priority for Senator Teplitz. Pennsylvania is home to excellent colleges, universities, and trade schools. It is crucial that students have opportunities to attend these institutions without enduring a heavy financial burden.

Legislation 

  • Career and Technical Education Month: Senate Resolution 269 recognizes the month of February 2016 as “Career and Technical Education Month” in Pennsylvania.
  • Charter and Cyber Charter School Funding Commission: Senate Bill 1075 creates a Charter and Cyber Charter School Funding Commission to review and make recommendations concerning the appropriate tuition rates and state funding applicable to charter schools and cyber charter education.
  • Pennsylvania Career Development Day: Senate Resolution 224 recognizes October 20, 2015, as “Pennsylvania Career Development Day.”
  • State Tax Return PA 529 College Savings Account Designation: Senate Bill 963 creates a checkbox on the state’s income tax form that designates a refund amount to be deposited directly into a PA 529 college savings plan. The PA 529 College Savings Plan aims to make college more affordable for families, and this bill would stress the importance of saving for college, help citizens maximize their college savings, and encourage more individuals to take advantage of the plan’s benefits.
  • Basic Education Funding Commission’s School Funding Formula: Senate Bill 910 codifies a funding formula for basic education funding, as developed and unanimously approved by the Basic Education Funding Commission. (co- prime sponsor)
  • School Security Drills: Senate Bill 515 requires all public schools in Pennsylvania to conduct school security drills.  A school security drill allows school staff and students to practice procedures that are used during an emergency situation such as an active shooter or a lockdown drill.
  • Charter School Appeal Board Member Recusal:  Senate Bill 193 amends the Public School Code, requiring a member of the State Charter School Appeal Board who is also an employee of a charter/cyber school to recuse himself or herself from any decisions regarding charter applications from competitors of the charter/cyber school at which he or she works.
  • State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement: Senate Bill 108 makes the process of approving out-of-state distance learning programs simpler and more cost efficient by giving the Pennsylvania Department of Education the authority to enter into a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary interstate agreement with postsecondary institutions that offer distance learning programs.
  • STEM Higher Education Loan Program (STEM HELP):  Senate Bill 107 creates a program called the STEM Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which completely pays for a student’s tuition when he or she attends a Pennsylvania institution of higher education while participating in an approved Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Program. In exchange, the students agree to pay back the state a percentage of their future earnings over a period of time after graduation and agree to stay in Pennsylvania for a short period of time after graduation.
  • Career and Technical Education Month: Senate Resolution 17 designates the month of February as “Career and Technical Education Month” in Pennsylvania.
  • Education Assistance Program: Senate Bill 1115 enhances the benefit and scope of the Educational Assistance Program by allowing fees, room and board, and textbooks to also qualify for state grant funding This bill was signed into law as Act 82 of 2014(co-sponsor)
  • Community College Funding Flexibility Plan: Senate Bill 874 amends the Public School Code to provide school districts that sponsor community colleges more flexibility in the amount they contribute toward their community college’s annual operating costs and annual capital expenses. This bill was signed into law as Act 108 of 2014(co-sponsor)

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