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Dear ACSI Pennsylvania School Leaders,

This month's news includes time-sensitive issues vital to our movement. Please pass this along promptly to share with appropriate members of your community!

Save the Dates:
  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019 ACSI Day of Prayer
  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019 Annual EITC Birthday Rally

If you are attending the Lancaster Leadership Conference join us on Thursday for lunch as we are having advocacy lunch tables and PA is one of them.

If you ever have any questions or need more information, please feel free to contact us!


ACSIPA Leadership Team
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    Safe2Say Something Program - Mandated & Effective January 14, 2019

Preschools and Nursery Schools are exempt from this program

The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed ACT 44 legislation in 2018 that includes initiatives designed to make schools safer learning communities. "Something" is an anonymous tip line for reporting school threats in all K-12 schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; this includes all non-public schools. It is important our schools understand that participation is mandated by law, not a choice. Each head of school should already have registered and named a 3 to 5 member team that will handle tips and make sure someone from the school can be contacted in the event of a life-saving emergency.

The responsibilities are very different for public and private schools. The program, which was to be implemented by January 14, 2019, is divided into two categories. First, Life Safety tips during school hours, which will require local police personnel to come on campus. Second, Non-Life Threatening incidents where police officials are not needed and the school has determined they have the situation under control.

The Attorney General's Office has contracted with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation which has assisted similar programs in other states. Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon have implemented this program. Attached is information needed in registering your school on the "Safe 2 Say Something" site. You will be asked to designate 3-5 individuals to go through the online training based on the size of your school.

NOTE: If you have not yet registered your school, take action to do so ASAP:
  • Review program kickoff materials: a helpful webinar video PPT slide presentation and FAQs

  • Register your school - It is imperative that your school entity send an email to to identify the S2SS Lead, provide point of contact information, and ensure that your school entity is listed.

  • View this Safe 2 Say website for critical launch resources, training materials for schools, admin and team quick how-to's, student training materials, teacher and staff resources, and parent and caretaker resources

  • To prepare for meeting with your police department about the program (required) review this discussion guide

  • One of our flexibilities is how we inform our students. Some schools may choose to modify an example of a letter informing parents/guardians; feel free to modify this sample letter

  • Another area of flexibility is how we train students and when. Each school is required to register if you will conduct your own student training of middle and high school students or if you would like to request Sandy Hook Promise Foundation trainers to do so.

  • Some schools are limiting their notices to families and students to meet the requirements of the law, but not to engage the program in many of its aspects. Those choices are up to the school.

  • We have heard informally that our schools may have up to eight weeks from January 14, 2019, to conduct these trainings. That would be a March 11 deadline.

  • Should you have additional questions, contact

  • Tom Hughes, Headmaster at Eden Christian Academy and one of our ACSIPA leaders, is trying to be a point contact for this issue for our PA Schools. You can contact him at:

    PACAPE News

As many of you are aware there is a strong coalition working together in the state to support the values of private education. Values like providing access to private schools, funding, and working together to preserve our ability to keep faith based education moving forward in our state. PACAPE is always looking to find ways to connect schools and individuals to its mission. P lease consider going to the website at and signing up to be on that mailing list.

PACAPE Teacher Administrator of the Year Awards
We are encouraging all of our schools to look for excellent teachers and administrators to be a part of the annual PACAPE Teacher/Administrator Awards Celebration. Please check out the informational flyer to learn how to nominate someone that you know who fits the criteria.

    Decisions that Impact the PA Tax Credit Programs

Statement on U.S. Treasury Department Guidance related to the removing of tax benefits for gifts to tax credit programs.

It looks like the IRS is trying to address our concerns with the new guidance offered. They still have some work to do, but this is a great first step. This is not the final rule, only new guidance, but the future looks better for donors who contribute to school choice programs. Take a minute to view the guidance online.

Our understanding from Treasury is this guidance was intended to address entities, and it is believed they've done it in a way that works for corporate donors. Treasury has indicated that guidance for individual donors and pass throughs (partners not entities) was a top priority and would be addressed in January.

PA Tax Credit Program SPEs exempt from Securities Registration Act
In an unrelated, but significant option, the Office of General Counsel at the PA Department of Banking & Securities takes the position that an SPE whose sole purpose is to make contributions under the EITC is exempt from the registration requirements of the PA Securities Act of 1972.

    National School Choice Week is January 20-26

National School Choice Week will be bigger and better than ever in Pennsylvania this year with 1101 total events. For Pennsylvania news, event details, and more, visit the PA page on the school choice website.

Check out this detailed, parent-friendly guide to school choice in Pennsylvania

There is transportation funding for schools to participate in the School Choice Rallies across the State. Please contact Dr. Merle Skinner ( for information about transportation funding to get to these events.

School Choice Celebrations In Pennsylvania:

Renaissance Academy Charter School, Philadelphia
Wednesday, January 23, from 10 to 11 AM
400 Franklin Ave., Phoenixville, PA 19469

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, Pittsburgh
Thursday, January 24, 10 to 11 AM
30 10th Street, Midland, PA 15059

    Early Education, Child Care and Development Block Grant Funding

We have been working with OCDEL to help clarify that religious early education centers should not be denied funds from the CCDBG funding provided through the state child care subsidy. We have received a tentative favorable ruling on this issue and are awaiting implementation of new forms to remove wording that implies that religious centers cannot receive funding or have to remove religious programming and hiring to participate. Look for more information soon about this. Action item for Licensed Early Education Centers: Do NOT agree to non-discrimination language in any of the Civil Rights, Licensing, or Funding contract or agreement language. Contact us for more information about these issues.

    Tax Credit Automatic Escalator Legislation

Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) introduced a co-sponsorship memo seeking support for legislation that would put an automatic escalator in the EITC & OSTC programs. The programs would increase 25% each year that 90% of the tax credits are allocated. If the bill passes it would increase the EITC by $40 million, bringing the total allocation to $200 million and it would increase the OSTC by $12.5 million, bringing the total allocation to $62.5 million.

Please reach out to your State Senators and ask them to support and sign on to the co-sponsorship memo below.

    Christian School Administrators' Advocacy Day at the Capitol

This important event is being scheduled for February. Look for this date to come out soon, and plan on attending. You will NOT regret it.

ACSIPA Leaders

Phil Puleo       David Hegedus
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg       ACSI Northeast Regional Staff
D. Merle Skinner       Tom Hughes
Christian Family and Children's Center       Eden Christian Academy
George Tryfiates       Lee Saunders
ACSI Director of Government Affairs       Portersville Christian School
Tony Wilson       Daniel Stone
Nittany Christian School       Dayspring Christian Academy
Cindy Dodds       Janet Hughes
ACSI Northeast Regional Staff       Eden Christian Academy
Daniel Thompson       Mark Stanton
Columbia County Christian School       Salem Christian School
Kathy Keafer       Shannon Gottschalk
Johnstown Christian School       Central Christian Academy
Philip Scott       
ACSI Legal Legislative Department