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Senator Judy SchwankHello friend! As many of you may know, when I’m not in session in Harrisburg I’m working in our district office in Reading. Much of my time is spent convening and attending meetings throughout the community but I also meet with constituents on issues of importance to them. These meetings give me the opportunity to learn what my constituents are thinking about state issues but also a real understanding of the hardships that many people are facing in our community. Some individuals need assistance in accessing unemployment benefits, others desire guidance on dealing with housing, some are seeking resources to help a family member with intellectual and physical disabilities. Meeting with these folks gives me a real perspective on where state fiscal resources are most needed and helps me to make sound decisions on the state budget. We are days away from finalizing the budget and you can be sure that I am carefully weighing the issues and considering my constituents priorities and needs. I welcome your input as I complete one of my most important duties as a state senator.

For all the latest news and events in the 11th Senatorial District and in Harrisburg, visit my website, my Facebook page and Twitter page.



Making Basic Education Improvements a Priority

studentsAs school districts across Pennsylvania struggle with gaping budget deficits and subsequent cuts in staff and programs, there is clearly a need to consider the future of education in a thoughtful and deliberative way. We have allowed a budget process to dictate the direction of basic education in Pennsylvania and that needs to change.

That’s why I’m introducing a Senate resolution that calls on the governor to develop a comprehensive legislative plan to improve basic education. The resolution recommends that the governor establish an advisory commission made up of parents, teachers, school administrators, higher education leaders, business leaders and legislators to examine the issue and make specific recommendations.

The committee should look at a range of issues, including the current education funding formula and what sources of state and local funding are the best sources of revenue for reliability and equity; how to sustainably fund education in the next 10 to 20 years; how to maintain local direction of schools while maximizing effective use of funds; how to determine which programs are essential for a 21st century model of public education; how to address schools in fiscally distressed communities; how to revise the PA school code and recommend shared services and school consolidation options.

Several local school advocates recently joined me in Reading when I introduced this resolution, and they were very supportive of the idea.

I’ve also introduced Senate Bill 1430, which would create the Priority Assistance Grant for Education (PAGE) Program. This program would target funding to support research-based strategies and interventions proven to increase student achievement in our most academically or financially distressed school districts.

Under my legislation, 18 school districts, including Reading School District, would qualify for a grant under the PAGE program.


A Good Day to ‘Get Outdoors’

Senator Schwank at Get Outdoors Day

Sen. Schwank joined WalkBikeBerks at Blue Marsh Lake’s “Get Outdoors Day,” which was held on June 9. Participants enjoyed games, fishing activities, kayaking, canoeing, control tower tours, biking, hiking, and more at the free event. With her are (left to right) WalkBikeBerks volunteer Michele Barrett, United States Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, and Lt. Col. Philip Secrist, 56th Commander of the Philadelphia District of the Army Corps of Engineers.


Property Tax/Rent Rebate Application Deadline Extended

housesThe deadline to apply for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate program for older adults and residents with disabilities has been extended to Dec. 31.

The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and older; widows and widowers age 50 and older; and people with disabilities age 18 and older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975.

For more information and to obtain Property Tax/Rent Rebate claim forms (PA-1000) and more, call 1-888-222-9190 or visit the Department of Revenue website. Claimants who already applied can also check the status of their claims on the website or by calling 1-888-PATAXES.


Tune in to June 28 “State Capitol Connection” TV Show

The next episode of my live interactive television program, “State Capitol Connection,” will air on Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m. on Comcast (Reading) channel 13, Comcast (Oley) channel 4, Service Electric Cable Vision channel 19 or online at I’ll be talking about municipal economic development efforts. Be sure to tune in!





Video on child protection bills PennDOT website Reading School District website Video of Senator Schwank's budget response Senator Schwank's floor remarks