Open Seat 48th E-Newsletter

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July 22, 2019

Fresh Food Grants Awarded to PA Elementary Schools

The PA Department of Education selected 220 elementary schools for $5.5 million in grants to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to create healthier school environments by providing better food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables available, increase fruit and vegetable consumption and positively impact students’ present and future health. Funding priority is given to schools with the highest rates of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals. The following schools serving students from the 48th Senatorial District were awarded grants:

  • Central Dauphin School District
    • Lawnton Elementary School – $21,620.00
    • Paxtang Elementary School – $14,375.50
    • Phillips Elementary School – $21,620.00
    • Rutherford Elementary School – $24,092.50
    • South Side Elementary School – $45,540.00
    • Tri-Community Elementary School – $24,265.00
  • Lebanon School District
    • Harding Elementary School – $37,260.00
    • Henry Houck Elementary School – $22,195.00
    • Northwest Elementary School – $39,847.50
    • Southeast Elementary School – $29,440.00
    • Southwest Elementary School – $30,762.50

PHEAA Warns of Financial Aid Scams

The PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) is warning students and borrowers to be wary of financial aid scams that could expose them to identity theft and significant financial loss. The most effective way to avoid becoming the victim of a scam is to be alert and vigilant when asked to provide any form of personal information or when engaging in financial transactions. Recent scams include:

  • Student loan forgiveness scams – companies or individuals claim to reduce or eliminate student debt in exchange for money. Loan forgiveness programs have specific eligibility requirements. No one can guarantee forgiveness in exchange for a fee
  • Tuition scams – these involve someone claiming to work for your school’s administrative office, calling to warn you that your tuition is late and you risk being dropped from class unless you pay immediately. If you are contacted about anything involving money, end the call immediately and contact your school directly in order to check the status of the alleged problem.
  • Unnecessary fees for service – while not necessarily a scam, beware of anyone charging a fee in exchange for application completion, a scholarship, debt counseling or anything else. In most cases, its a scam or you are being charged for something that you can access for free.

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud and scams. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends the following tips to avoid scams:

  • Don’t share your Social Security number, credit card information or account passwords.
  • Never pay up front for a promised prize. It’s a scam if you are told that you must pay fees or taxes to receive a prize or other financial windfall.
  • After hearing a sales pitch, take the time to compare prices. Ask for information in writing and read it carefully.
  • Too good to be true? Ask yourself why someone is trying so hard to give you a “great deal.” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Watch out for deals that are only “good today” and pressure you to act quickly. Walk away from high-pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you time to read a contract or get legal advice before signing. Also, don’t fall for the sales pitch that says you need to pay immediately, for example by wiring the money or sending it by courier.
  • Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. Go to donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222.

If you believe that you have been targeted or victimized by a scam, please contact the PA Department of Banking and Securities, the CFPB, or the Federal Trade Commission.

PA’s Best Communities for Music Education

The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) program is a signature program of the NAMM Foundation that recognizes and celebrates schools and districts for their support and commitment of music education and efforts to assure access to music for all students as part of the curriculum.  The BCME award is for a district to be acknowledged that serves students across grade levels and multiple schools.  The SupportMusic Merit (SMMA) award is for an individual school to be acknowledged.  It is a “school-only” distinction and can be a charter, private or parochial school.  CONGRATULATIONS to the following schools in the 48th Senatorial District for their designation!

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