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Funding for poorest Pa. schools left unfinished

Plus, 5 takeaways from our recent panel on getting involved in local government.

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Education funding, 5 takeaways, power plan, coverage crisis, another closure, and the mermaids of the Susquehanna River. Welcome to Tuesday.

The poorest school districts in Pennsylvania are still waiting for additional funding promised to them in the state budget.

The main budget bill that Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro signed earlier this month provides $100 million to Level Up, a supplemental funding program that benefits 100 districts. But as Spotlight PA previously reported, the Shapiro administration agreed not to send out funding for that program, as well as for a few others, until additional legislation is passed.

That's left some school administrators unable "to address facility needs, pay salaries and provide a quality education for students," WESA reports.

THE CONTEXT: Level Up was first introduced under former Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf as a way of getting additional money to the neediest districts while the executive and legislature worked on making funding more equitable overall. 

Educators from these districts recently told a state House panel that unfunded needs include new laptops, supplies like pencils, and building renovations, per CNHI News.

The state House and Senate are set to return in September to finish the budget. 


"We’re lucky. We’re still so lucky."

Jeremy Rogers, a resident of Rustic Ridge Estates in Plum, where an explosion killed five and caused severe damage
We've been challenged to raise $25,000 by 11:59 p.m. Saturday to unlock a HUGE $25,000 matching gift. That means your contribution will be DOUBLED. Help sustain Spotlight PA's vital reporting for the remainder of 2023 now.

Thank you to the roughly 264 people who have given so far, including Sandra T., who said, "Dirty deeds done by those in power need to be brought to light." Join Sandra and make a tax-deductible gift in support of Spotlight PA now. »
» State senator wants to see father’s playbook on crime prevention brought back, via WHYY.

» Bucks commissioner candidates spar ahead of election, via Courier Times.
» David McCormick, gearing up for a Senate run in Pennsylvania, lives in Connecticut, via AP.

» How Lancaster County quietly removed a controversial fee on warrants in June, via LNP.

The Appalachian Trail passes in front of the trail museum in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Cumberland County. Thanks, Leo K.! Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

Today's top news story in Pennsylvania. 5 TAKEAWAYS: Local government officials, whether elected or appointed, shape residents’ lives in a range of ways. Spotlight PA held an event recently to discuss how Pennsylvanians can be better involved in local government and what to do when problems arise. Here are five takeaways.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.POWER PLAN: York Energy Storage LLC is proposing a hydroelectric project that would flood almost 600 acres and 40 homes along the lower Susquehanna River. Critics say the plan would displace dozens of households and "would destroy preserved farms, a regional scenic trail, and forested lands," PennLive (paywall) reports.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.COVERAGE CRISIS: Child care providers in Pennsylvania must hold liability insurance, but PublicSource found that many in the Pittsburgh area have recently been dropped by their providers with little warning. The cause is still largely unknown. 

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.ANOTHER CLOSURE: East Allen Township’s volunteer ambulance squad has shut down, the Morning Call reports. The township's manager said the squad was facing "dire financial conditions," while a board member said the township pulled support as they worked on money issues. 
  • RELATED: The business of volunteer fire companies has become harder to sustain. Can collaboration help? via Spotlight PA
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.REMEMBERING JABARR: Jabarr Richards was shot and killed on Halloween last year in Philadelphia — a death that didn't make the news and that is still unsolved. The Inquirer has a dispatch from a family gathering on what should have been his 21st birthday as those closest to him fight to keep his memory alive. 
Support Spotlight PA's investigative journalism for Pennsylvania and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
COMEBACK: In 2019, the Pennsylvania Treasury's X (née Twitter) account went viral for being snarky. The Inquirer reports that it's back (kinda).

TRAINING DAYS: Pingpong player Rachel Williams, 89, represented Pennsylvania at the National Senior Games last month. According to LNP, she trained with the help of a robot partner

PLAN INPUT: The Pennsylvania Department of Aging wants to hear from you about how to improve the lives of older residents. Via WESA comes this list of virtual listening sessions.

FISH TALES: In 1881, fisher Henry Loucks claimed he had seen a mermaid in the Susquehanna River five times. Per PennLive, he considered shooting the mermaid but didn't for fear "it would bring him into trouble."

BUCKS BRIDGES: Take this self-guided driving tour of the dozen remaining covered bridges in Bucks County, via WHYY.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Monday's answer: Miseducation

Congrats to our daily winners: Jon W., John E., Stacy S., Don H., Barbara F., Kim C., Elaine C., Kimberly D., Dennis M., Susan N.-Z., David W., James B., Richard A., Cameron T., Doug W., Susan D., Wendy A., William Z., Tom M., Ada M., and Jane R.
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