PSCA Advocacy In Action
Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) and The Pennsylvania Coalition of Student Services Associations
In February 2023, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the existing school funding system was unconstitutional, and said that Pennsylvania must meet “the challenge of delivering a system of public education that the Pennsylvania Constitution requires – one that provides for every student to receive a meaningful opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and civically, which requires that all students have access to a comprehensive, effective,
and contemporary system of public education.” PSCA, as a Governing Body member of the Pennsylvania Schools Work (PASW) coalition, has closely followed Pennsylvania’s response to this charge.
In September 2023, PSCA Government Relations chair Adam Oldham attended a PASW planning meeting at the Harrisburg Capitol Building. There he helped shape coalition strategy, including the need to elevate the stories and voices of student services professionals in the dialogue about school funding. To do this:
Adam and PSCA Executive Director Emilia Mattucci met with Representative Mike Sturla, co-chair of the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC), who invited PSCA to testify at one of the BEFC’s public hearings in November 2023.
PSCA released an Action Alert encouraging members to submit public comments to the BEFC.
Also in September 2023, Adam reached out to the leadership of all state student services associations to sign onto a joint letter calling for the BEFC to include funding for student services professionals in the final outcome of their work. PSCA was joined by every state association in the signing of this letter - the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania (ASPP), the Pennsylvania Association of School Nurses and Practitioners (PASNAP), the Pennsylvania Association of School Social Work Professionals (PASSWP), the Pennsylvania State Education Association’s Department of Pupil Services (PSEA DPS), the Pennsylvania Association of Pupil Services Administrators (PAPSA), and the Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professionals (PASAP).
The leadership of all these state associations agreed to join together to form the Pennsylvania Coalition of Student Services Associations - a working group focused on joint advocacy and support in elevating the voices of student services professionals and programs. Leading the charge of this work, Adam organized an event to deliver the joint letter to the BEFC in Enola on November 2, 2023.
Once Representative Sturla confirmed the opportunity to testify at a BEFC hearing, Adam and Emilia determined that it would be more effective to testify on behalf of the newly formed Pennsylvania Coalition of Student Services Associations. Rather than deliver the joint letter on November 2 as originally planned, the coalition did so instead on November 15, 2023. Adam testified to the Commission that day, and was joined by representatives from other coalition members - school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, student services administrators, and PSEA leadership were all in attendance.
PSCA Ends Policy 4 reads: “Pennsylvania school counselors and the school counseling profession benefit when PSCA actively collaborates with other educational organizations, coalitions, and networks.” PSCA’s engagement with PASW, the BEFC, and the formation of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Student Services Associations exemplifies this work!