For the November 2021 general election, Back to School PA, a bi-partisan PAC, awarded close to $700,000 in funding for school board races across the state.  Back to School PA supported 54 local PACs in 17 different counties, ranging from the Southeast to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Erie and included suburban, rural, and urban districts. Back to School PA funding supported over 200 candidates and achieved a 60 percent success rate for its first endeavor. PACs were awarded funding solely based on their mission to keep schools open and hold those accountable who kept schools closed.  Funding decisions were not made based on political party or winnability of the election.

Back to School PA is pleased to announce that Beth Ann Rosica is the new Executive Director, effective December 1, 2021.  Rosica served as the Chief Strategy Officer since the PAC’s inception in July 2021. She worked closely with Clarice Schillinger, the former Executive Director. Schillinger spearheaded the grassroots initiative by identifying community advocates, assisting them to set up new PACs, providing funding and training for school board candidates, and serving as a resource throughout the entire electoral process. Back to School PA is eternally grateful to Schillinger for her dedication, leadership, commitment, and hard work to ensure that our schools are never closed again.  Stay tuned for more information on Schillinger’s next steps in January.

Rosica holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of underserved and at-risk children and families. Under her leadership, Back to School PA has expanded its mission from keeping schools open and holding those accountable for closing schools to addressing the large learning loss and mental and behavioral health issues related to school closures.  Pennsylvania children have suffered immensely over the last 22 months, and it is imperative that we work tirelessly to get them caught up academically and back on track emotionally and behaviorally.  Back to School PA will be providing resources to assist parents, teachers, and school districts to address these issues.

In addition to serving as a Think Tank for Pennsylvania in 2022, Back to School PA has also identified several other states where our mission and strategy could be replicated.  In an analysis of states that were most impacted by school closures that have school board races in 2022 and do not have a governor race, there are four targeted states:  Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky.  Back to School PA will be identifying potential partners and community advocates in those states to assist them in replicating the success experienced in Pennsylvania. Back to School PA remains committed to keeping our schools open and addressing the consequences of extended school closures.

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