Make a Call for Students with Disabilities

Thanks to everyone who’s been making calls and forwarding our email blasts on the special education funding reform legislation. The efforts are starting to have an impact, but we need to make sure our voices are heard.

The Senate may take up SB 1316 as soon as members return to the Capitol on June 2, so please make a call today and urge them to support SB 1316.

PLEASE CALL YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY.

  1. Find the District office phone number and e-mail address of the your state senator here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/#address.
  2. Call their District office and leave a message, asking them to support Senate Bill 1316.

ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS, if necessary:

  • Please support Senate Bill 1316, the special education funding and accountability reform bill. Senator Pat Browne is the lead sponsor in the Senate.
  • The current funding system for special education is broken, is unfair, and does not provide enough resources for special education in the right places.
  • I am asking you to support reform of the state funding and accountability system for special education. The school districts you represent need support for special education, and must be held accountable for results.
  • I have personal experience with how this broken system hurts children with disabilities and all students. (Describe your experience.)
  • It is disheartening to hear misleading opposition to this legislation from the leaders of the charter school advocacy community. In truth, charter schools that serve students with more significant disabilities would, under the proposed new formula, receive far greater resources to serve those students than they do under the current, flawed system. (See chart: http://www.elc-pa.org/?attachment_id=1215)

No News is Not Good News

No News is Not Good News

In the case of the budget cuts proposed by Governor Corbett, no news is not good news. Despite an overwhelming public outcry and strong opposition from the public, mental health advocates, media, and legislators, Governor Corbett and his administration remain committed to enacting their drastic and devastating cuts to the community behavioral health system – the most significant since the system’s inception more than 50 years ago.

We need to continue making our opposition heard with legislators so that the budget introduced by the Governor is not passed. Below are some ways you can take immediate action.

Stay Informed

In addition to sending critical advocacy alerts, MHAPA posts daily updates and calls to action on our Facebook page and websitePlease follow us on Facebook to stay informed of budget–related events and activities across the state.

Contact Your Legislators

Contact your state representative and senator and let them know you oppose the Governor’s proposed cuts to the community behavioral health system.

The message is simple:
STOP the 20% cuts. STOP the Block Grant. STOP cuts to General Assistance.

Find your legislators here. Contact them by:
Sending A Postcard

Use a pre-printed postcard to share these simple messages with your PA House Representative and Senator and the Chairs of the Pennsylvania House and Senate Appropriations Committees. To order the free postcards, contact Sue Walther, MHAPA’s Executive Director, at717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org.  Please be sure to provide your mailing address and the number of postcards you would like. See the postcard here.

Writing a letter

Read samples letters written and sent by advocates at Community Advocates of Montgomery County. Use these samples as a guide to help you tell your own story.  Click here for talking points. Click here for the sample letters from Community Advocates.

Making a Phone Call

After sending your letter and/or postcard, call your legislators’ offices. Ask if they received your letter and what their positions are on the mental health cuts. Let MHAPA know what you learn by contacting Sue Walther at 717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org. Tell us who you spoke to and what their positions are. Click here to see a full summary of actions taken by one group of Community Advocates. If you have a like summary that you want to share, email it to Sue Walther.

Attend an Event

Advocacy organizations across the state are hosting events to bring together people against the cuts. Please gather your friends and family and attend at least one of these events. Two upcoming events are:
Monday, May 7Save PA’s Bridge to Stability & Self-Sufficiency Rally and Lobby Day in Harrisburg with PA Cares for All

Thursday, June 5Capitol Day with The Pennsylvania Community Providers Association, The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Mental Health Association of Westmoreland County, and NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania

MHAPA updates its Facebook followers of budget related events across the area. Like us on Facebook and learn about these events—we also post them to the Budget page of our website.

Tell the Media

Send a copy of your legislator letter to your local newspaper—it makes an impact. Kathie Mitchell, Director of Community Advocates of Montgomery County, sent a letter to The Mercury in Pottstown.  The paper published it and Community Advocates received three phone calls as a result of the published letter.  

Let Us Know What You’ve Done

Let us know what action you’ve taken so we help to ensure that your voice is being heard. Contact Sue Walther at 717-346-0549, extension 1, or swalther@mhapa.org. Click here to see a full summary of actions taken by Community Advocates. If you have a similar summary to share, email it to Sue Walther.


Take A Stand Against Budget Cuts!

Write, Email, Phone – Time to Get in Touch with Legislators!
It is crucial that the work being done in Harrisburg be accompanied by grass roots legislative work in the districts! Legislators are very interested in hearing from constituents, including providers, consumers, and families. It is important that they continue to be reminded by every means possible of the importance of maintaining access to behavioral health, intellectual disability, and autism services. While the most effective means of outreach continues to be inviting legislators to tour agencies or visiting them accompanied by families or consumers, in the all out budget assault that providers are currently experiencing, other methods of outreach need to be employed as well. 
 
Legislators’ email addresses, mail addresses, and phone numbers can be found on www.legis.state.pa.us. PCPA has developed sample language that can be used in letters or emails and budget talking points to assist in delivering the message. However, this suggested language is only part of what should be included – most important is information about how your agency serves those in the community, especially success stories if possible. The following materials may help agencies reach out to legislators through letters, phone calls, and emails. 
 

These cuts target the truly needy and will hurt individuals who should not be sacrificed during this time of limited resources, but should be among the first protected. If services to Pennsylvanians in need of mental health, intellectual disability, autism, or addiction care are to remain accessible and effective, funding must be preserved and Pennsylvania’s safety net must be protected. To avoid the devastation of Pennsylvania’s community services, it is crucially important that members take action NOW! 
 

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Copyright 2012 – Pennsylvania Community Providers Association
2101 N Front St, Bldg 3, Ste 200, Harrisburg, PA 17110
Phone: 717-364-3280 – Fax: 717-364-3287

www.paproviders.org