ACSI Reservation of Rights for Lunch Programming

The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) has sent a Reservation of Rights letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the free and reduced lunch program to help support ACSI Christian Schools' rights for those participating in the Hot Lunch and food programs. The renewals for these programs should not be hindered by a nondiscrimination statement that is contrary to a schools beliefs or tenants of faith. ACSI recognizes the importance of observing the proper church-state boundaries between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and our member schools.

EITC / OSTC: Nondiscrimination Statement Removed

The administration and DCED have removed the nondiscrimination statement that included gender, gender identity and sexual expression language from the EITC and OSTC guidelines and applications. This is a significant blessing from God. If you are a scholarship organization, the forms are updated on the website and we can participate once again in these incredibly important programs to our families in good faith.

Consider and pray about several things that the DCED very pointed example makes clear:

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Changes to Free / Reduced Lunch Program

The Free / Reduced Lunch program is adding a sexual orientation, gender identity non-discrimination clause that must be consented to in order to participate in the program. Schools who plan to participate in the lunch program are suggested to include a reservation of rights letter with their applications.

529 Plan distributions for K-12

pa 529 updates logo

You can use money contributed to a child's 529 Plan to pay for their K-12 education expenses. Pennsylvania will follow the Federal tax legislation signed into law on December 22, 2017, which includes several new provisions related specifically to 529 plan accounts, beginning with the 2018 tax year:
• Account owners can use assets to pay for qualified K-12 expenses up to $10,000 per year, per student.
• Account owners can treat K-12 withdrawals as qualified education expenses with respect to federal tax and PA PIT purposes.

School Choice & Positive Engagement in Politics

Active Engagement School Choice

School choice requires an active engagement in politics. This does not mean dipping a toe in the proverbial pond of politics, but actively engaging in local and state politics and calling its school community to involvement as well.

ESAs Supporting School Choice in Other States

Educations savings accounts are the future of school choice, and new data out today show how families are using ESAs to customize educational options.

In 2014, Florida became the second state, after Arizona in 2011, to enact education savings accounts (ESAs), which enable families to utilize state funding to customize K-12 schooling options beyond just private school tuition. This year, more than 10,000 Florida students with special needs utilized the program, which is now called the Gardiner Scholarship.

PACAPE Awards Mike Turzai School Choice Champion of the Year

PACAPE with Speaker Turzai

LANCASTER (Jan. 19, 2018) – The Honorable Mike Turzai, PA Speaker of the House and candidate for governor was awarded the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Council on American Private Education (PACAPE) School Choice Champion Award at a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Doubletree Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA. PACAPE hosted the event as a part of the Association of Christian School’s (ACSI) Northeast Regional Leadership Conference where 350 private school administrators attended.

ACSIPA Webinar

Yesterday (Monday, May 22) we produced a webinar that was recorded; it will help schools know what to do about sexual and gender identity threats our schools face. You can view that webinar using the links below. For more information and to find out what actions you can take, we encourage you to read this email.

ACSIPA Webinar (audio & video)
ACSIPA Webinar (audio only)

"Fairness" Act

Gov. Tom Wolf’s “Fairness Act” is anything but fair. Please take a look at the following documents that explain the "Fairness" Act. One of the documents points to the connection this Act has to bathrooms and showers and the other gives a general overview of the negative impacts with this legislation. This bill (HB1410) was formally introduced in the House last week by State Representative Dan Frankel. In the Senate, it is SB613.

- "Fairness" Act
- "Fairness" Act Affects Bathrooms and Showers

CALL TO ACTION: Oppose SB613 / HB1410
1) Contact your State Senator and State Representative to OPPOSE the “Fairness Act.”
2) Ask State House and Senate leadership to OPPOSE the “Fairness Act.”
3) Ask candidates for Pennsylvania Governor where they stand on the “Fairness Act.”

Education Secretary DeVos Meets with CAPE Leaders

On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with the CAPE (Council for Private Education) board of directors and representatives of the state affiliates for the first time; she reaffirmed her commitment to expanding educational opportunities for children and parents. “We have to stay focused on what’s right for kids,” said Mrs. DeVos, sounding a recurring theme in her young administration. “If we can keep asking ourselves the question about what is right for individual children, I think we’re going to come to a good and reasonable answer.” Mrs. DeVos said one of her priorities was to advance parental choice in education in a significant way that would “help parents and children who are trapped all too often in places that don’t work for them.” But she also said her immediate goals are to successfully steer the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and to get her team of senior officials on board. Beyond that, she wants to advance the public policy conversation about higher education and lifelong learning.

To read more about this meeting with DeVos and to take a look at the meeting CAPE had with House Education Chairwoman Virgina Foxx, take a look at the April edition of CAPE Outlook.

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