Should Allegheny County residents vote to create a Children’s Fund?

Allegheny County Home Rule Charter Amendment Children's Fund ballot question

This is how the question will appear on your ballot.

On Nov. 6, voters in Allegheny County can vote YES or NO on the whether to create a Children’s Fund. This question will appear on page two of their ballots:

“Shall the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter be amended to establish the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, funded by Allegheny County levying and collecting an additional 0.25 mills, the equivalent of $25 on each $100,000 of assessed value, on all taxable real estate, beginning January 1, 2019 and thereafter, to be used to improve the well-being of children through the provision of services throughout the County including early childhood learning, after school programs, and nutritious meals?”

Just Harvest has chosen to remain neutral on this question. If the question is approved, we will work to hold the new funding structure accountable for effective use and oversight of the funds.

You can read the full amendment at bit.ly/2018-charter-amendment. We provide the following info and statements about the ballot question for educational purposes only.

SUPPORTING

Steering committee members of the Our Kids Our Commitment campaign wrote the amendment and turned in 63,499 signatures on August 7 petitioning the Allegheny County Board of Elections to add the Allegheny County Children’s Fund to the Nov. 6, 2018, General Election ballot. They urge voters to vote YES on this amendment, stating:

Here in Allegheny County, we believe that by giving our kids every opportunity to succeed, we’re giving our region a brighter future. We believe that investing in our kids is an investment that will pay dividends for generations to come. We believe in what’s proven to work for our kids: early learning, after school programs and good nutrition. By creating the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, we will provide dedicated funding for these critical areas.

The Allegheny County Children’s Fund steering committee includes Allies for Children, Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time (APOST), Higher Achievement, Human Services Center Corporation, The Mentoring Partnership, Pressley Ridge, PUMP, Trying Together, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, along with numerous community-based partners.

You can learn more at OurKidsOurCommitment.org

OPPOSING

Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network urges voters to vote NO on this amendment in a formal statement that reads in part:

In Allegheny County, we already have an existing process for raising taxes through county government, and we don’t need additional layers of bureaucracy. Furthermore, we believe that if the Allegheny County Children’s Fund Initiative were truly a public process, we’d have access to basic information such as how the fund’s advisory commission would be appointed, or how they would oversee what is estimated to be nearly $18 million in annual revenue. Unfortunately, those questions don’t have answers.

You can read the full statement at piin.org

One Pennsylvania’s Education Rights Network urges voters to vote NO on this amendment in a formal statement that reads in part:

Without protections for necessary accommodations guaranteed by law, many children will never be able to access the programs that may be funded by this initiative. We believe strongly in investing in high-quality, inclusive programs that benefit all children across Allegheny County. We do not believe in initiatives that fail to simultaneously and aggressively eliminate barriers to access for marginalized communities. The ballot initiative refers to “fair and equitable allocation,” but provides no structure to ensure that funds are distributed with explicit protections and oversight for our most vulnerable children.

You can read the full statement at onepa.org/ern_okoc/

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