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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: April 5, 2013 02:59 PM
From: Representative Ryan P. Aument
To: All House members
Subject: Passport for Learning Block Grant
Please join me in cosponsoring legislation to provide for the Passport for Learning (P4L) Block Grant Program, which could dedicate up to $1 billion in new funds for K-12 public education. Governor Corbett initially proposed P4L as part of his comprehensive package to divest the Commonwealth of the state store liquor system and to provide greater convenience, consumer choice, and price competition in the sale of alcohol.

The House of Representatives approved historic legislation on March 21, 2013, when it passed House Bill 790. This legislation was an amendment to the Liquor Code and provided for reforms to liquor and alcohol sales in the Commonwealth that will generate significant proceeds to the Commonwealth. House Bill 790 earmarked these dollars to a restricted account, but it did not allocate the funds for a specific purpose.

Under Governor Corbett's proposal, 100 percent of the proceeds would be dedicated to public education. As the Governor has said, "The sale of alcohol is not a core function of government--but education is." I agree with this statement, and that is why I am introducing this bill.

This legislation, as proposed by the Governor, will require all proceeds from liquor privatization to be placed in a restricted account for P4L grants. The grants would be available for four general uses by school districts:
  • Programs and activities that support school safety and security.
  • Initiatives that support S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
  • K-3 programs that advance early learners to be ready in core subjects by the third grade.
  • Personalized learning initiatives that are customized to help students move toward proficiency and demonstration of competencies.
Every school district in the Commonwealth would be eligible to apply for funds under these categories through the proposed block grant. Distribution of the dollars would be spread over four school years. Once all of the funds are depleted, the program would expire.

The Department of Education (PDE) would be required to publish a grant application and guidelines for the application process on its website. Each school district seeking a grant must submit an application to PDE that includes a description of the purpose of the funds, how they will be used, and an assurance that the grant applicant acknowledges that funding under the program is limited and will not continue after the initial funds are depleted. Any application that proposes to use the funds for ongoing activities and costs will have to include in the application a description of how the ongoing costs will be supported at the conclusion of the grant program.

Funds will be allocated to school districts by an objective formula that considers average daily membership, student characteristics such as English Language Learners and poverty, and school district aid ratio. All school districts in the Commonwealth will receive funding based on this distribution.

Thank you for your consideration of this proposed legislation.

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Introduced as HB1366