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Election fuels conflict, clashes in Gettysburg


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
October 28, 2020
School funding fight, more civil unrest, a supreme request, another broken COVID-19 record, and answers to your election questions. It's Wednesday.

Pennsylvania’s public school children are being shortchanged by $4.6 billion — and those in the poorest school districts, who have fallen the furthest behind, are owed the most, a new analysis commissioned by advocates seeking to overhaul the state’s education funding system shows.

Spotlight PA and The Philadelphia Inquirer report the review found districts in Berks, Chester, and Schuylkill Counties are facing the biggest shortfalls. On average, the poorest 20% of school districts have $7,866 less per student than the wealthiest 20%, the report said.

Want to see how much your district is owed? Check out our interactive here.

The Context: The findings were prepared for a Commonwealth Court judge in a lawsuit claiming chronic school underfunding and inequities. Senate Republicans, however, are prepared to argue that there is no link between funding a district receives and academic achievement.

Without funding changes, though, Lancaster Superintendent Damaris Rau, whose district is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, issued a stark warning.

“We’re going to create a school district in a city that just has a deep, deep sense of poverty, like it was in the ’60s in the South,” she said. “The inequality is just going to become greater and greater for our kids.”


"That's what being an American is all about — difference of opinion and being able to be civil about it."

–– Beth Bilinski, a teacher who supports Vice President Joe Biden, on living next door to a person who backs President Donald Trump in highly competitive Northampton County

POST IT: An amazing shot of the Kinzua Sky Walk in McKean County (unless you're afraid of heights). Thanks, @lora_explores, for the photo! Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
MORE UNREST: One day after Philadelphia police officers killed a Black man in the midst of a mental health crisis, Gov. Tom Wolf mobilized the National Guard to respond to protests, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. An official said the guard would assist police in "protecting life, property, and the right to peacefully assemble and protest.”

SPENDING ENDING: Pennsylvania lawmakers have until Dec. 1 to dictate how to spend $1.3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money. If they fail to make a decision by then, the money will automatically be dispersed to individual counties, The Morning Call reports.

SIT IT OUT: Critical Luzerne County, which flipped from blue to red in 2016, is formally requesting the recusal of newly installed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in a key legal dispute. The request is related to a legal challenge to the state's three-day extension to count mail-in ballots past Election Day, according to The Citizens' Voice.

BATTLE SCENE: Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters have been clashing in Gettysburg, the famed site of one of the nation's bloodiest Civil War battles, The Washington Post reports. In one instance, Black Lives Matter demonstrators were confronted by people with AR-15 rifles.

BROKEN RECORDS: Pennsylvania yet again broke its record for most COVID-19 cases in a single day in the state — but this time, the record was shattered, PennLive reports. Coronavirus deaths in Westmoreland County also reached their highest level since May, and Philadelphia officials said they can no longer effectively trace cases

» RSVP NOW: Join us at 10 a.m. Nov. 2 as our political experts break down the week ahead and answer your questions about voting and what to expect.

IN THE KNOW: For the next week, Spotlight PA and Votebeat are answering all of your election and voting questions. Here's our first batch of answers — yes, you can talk a selfie while voting — and how you can submit your own queries. You might also want to read this breakdown of what you can expect to know by the time you go to bed Nov. 3.

HOUSE HAUNTING: Looking for a new place to call home? Consider this $16 million home in Elkins Park. Bonus? It's extremely haunted! 

REMEMBER TO BREATHE: There is ... a lot going on right now, which makes it even more critical to take care of yourself. Here are some easy breathing exercises that can benefit both your mental and physical health.

ONE-ACRE CANVAS: When the "father of crop art" came knocking, these Centre County farmers thought it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to host a living work of art. The result: a one-acre campaign ad for Joe Biden that's reminiscent of 1930s-era Works Progress Administration art.

PROTECTED PATH: Cyclists in Pennsylvania who are looking for an adventure now have a safer choice. Pittsburgh has completed the protected bike lanes that connect with the Great Allegheny Passage, meaning bikers now have an even better way to make the 150-mile journey to Cumberland, Md.

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Yesterday's answer: Phantom

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., Irene K., Karen W., Tracey C., Chris W., Sue S., Al F., John L., Rick K., Patricia M., Brandie K., Lynne P., Lynne E., Deb N., Kim C., Tish M., Nena S., Mike W., George S., Heidi B., Irene R., Chris M., Claudia M., Kevin M., Dianne K., David W., Robert S., Patricia R., Lance L., Carol D., Joel S., Anne R., Jeffery S., Jeff M., Jenn C., Bruce B., and Scott Z.
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