The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) presented Representative Jason Ortitay (R-Allegheny) with a Champion of Public Education award during an advocacy day that drew more than 150 school leaders to the Capitol.
The PSBA Champion of Public Education award recognizes lawmakers for their outstanding support of traditional public schools during a two-year legislative session. This support is measured by the legislator’s voting record, bills introduced, attendance and involvement at their local districts, and efforts to work with PSBA to support public schools.
Rep. Ortitay’s legislation to address challenges in public education during this legislative session includes his introduction of House Bill 955 and the recently introduced House Bill 2468.
House Bill 955 would update the 1976 law, which requires all public notices be published in a printed newspaper, by providing school districts with much needed flexibility in issuing such notices. School boards have been forced to plan their business around newspaper printing schedules and spend increasing amounts of taxpayer resources on an outdated method of advertising. Authorizing alternative methods of advertising would also allow school boards to reach a greater number of constituents with important information.
House Bill 2468 would create a grant program targeted at addressing student mental health needs. One of the biggest challenges currently facing public schools is addressing the mental health needs of students, which has only grown more urgent due to the impacts of COVID-19. The proposed grant program would provide additional resources that school districts could use to fund initiatives such as providing training to their existing mental health service providers, hiring additional providers or contracting for a wide array of services.
PSBA thanks Rep. Ortitay for his partnership in promoting excellent public education in Pennsylvania and his commitment to serving the commonwealth’s students.