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Championing Students and Schools: The Ongoing Advocacy Efforts of the BCIU’s Committee on Legislative Action (COLA)

Close to 40 Committee on Legislative Action (COLA) members attended the fourth and final meeting of the 2022-2023 school year on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at the BCIU Main Office. The Committee’s efforts have made a significant impact on the educational landscape of Berks County, ensuring that the needs of students, educators, and schools are represented and heard at the legislative level.

Mrs. Hannah Barrick, J.D., Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO), joined the group to provide an overview of the Governor’s proposed budget and the potential impact on our schools, education funding, and other education legislation and policy news.

The group discussed identified priority areas for 2022-2023, targeting the impact of mandated training hours and the critical need for mental health funding to support the social and emotional well-being of students through sustained and enhanced access to school and community-based mental health services and supports. Documents developed to assist advocacy efforts in these two areas were distributed outlining data, key talking points, proposed solutions, and ideas for moving forward. These documents will be shared with our local legislators to provide background information, and encourage discussion and collaboration.

COLA Co-Chairs Mr. Andrew Potteiger, Superintendent of the Brandywine Heights Area School District; and Dr. Greg Miller, Superintendent of the Fleetwood Area School District; along with

Dr. Jill Hackman, BCIU Executive Director, extend their gratitude to the COLA members from our school districts and career and technology centers for their dedication and advocacy efforts on behalf of our students, educators, and schools. The Berks County COLA group has been highly praised by our professional partners for their outstanding display of positive advocacy in support of students, setting an exemplary standard for others to emulate.

The next meeting of COLA is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12, 2023, and will mark the first meeting of the 2023-2024 school year.

Pictured (left to right): Dr. Jill Hackman, BCIU Executive Director; Dr. Greg Miller, Fleetwood Area School District Superintendent (COLA Co-Chair); Mrs. Hannah Barrick; and Mr. Andrew Potteiger, Brandywine Heights Area School District Superintendent (COLA Co-Chair).
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