PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Back to School PA PAC (B2SPA) was created in July 2021 by a local Bucks County parent, Paul Martino, after seeing how successful his $10,000 donation to Keeping Kids in School PAC was in supporting 94 school board candidates in the May 2021 primaries. Clairce Schillinger founded the Keeping Kids in School PAC in Southeast Pennsylvania out of frustration from her children being forced to learn virtually for over a year. Martino, a venture capitalist and CEO coach, partnered with Schillinger to franchise Keeping Kids in School PAC's methods to help organize and mobilize parents across the state.
"When I started the PAC, I invested $500,000 to find parents like Clarice Schillinger to help elect school board candidates who believe our schools should offer in-person instruction. Through our efforts, we found that there were hundreds of community advocates across the state who wanted and needed our help," says Martino. To date, 191 groups in 30 different counties across the state have reached out asking for help to support their school board candidates. Parents across party lines from urban to rural areas have reached out pleading for support to save their childrens' education, their teachers, and their schools. With such an overwhelming response, B2SPA knew that additional funds were necessary to support as many Pennsylvania school board PACs as possible.
Even though B2SPA started with exactly one donor and his $500,000 check, it was constantly attacked by special interest groups, candidates, media organizations, and elected officials as being a dark-money group and a front for other political purposes. One of many examples of accusations that B2SPA encountered occurred on September 8, 2021. At a school district approved check presentation at the North Penn High School and the alma mater of founder, Paul Martino, school board candidates and B2SPA team members were verbally assaulted by a local elected official and her colleagues. This group screamed, cursed, and accused B2SPA of taking dark- money to support their efforts. As a result of that incident, Martino and Schillinger made the decision to accept donations from other like-minded individuals and organizations.
"When we started the PAC, we did not know if we could even find 50 groups that shared our goal. When the number hit almost 200, we had a discussion about if we should take 3rd party money to support these additional groups. Ironically, it was that event at North Penn that flipped us from being a sole donor PAC to one that has additional backers. If we are going to continually be slandered and defamed with false allegations of dark-money and supposed other donors behind the curtain, we might as well take 3rd party funds from organizations that share our goal for in-person education,"Martino reports.
Our recently added donors include local business owners, technology industry veterans, and groups who support keeping schools open like the Commonwealth Children's Choice Fund. The new contributions enabled B2SPA to make awards to additional local PACs run by concerned parents, grandparents, business owners, and advocates who want to elect high quality school board candidates who will best represent the students, parents, and teachers in their community. B2SPA is now able to award funding to 56 different PACs across the state in 16 diverse counties.
B2SPA encourages everyone to get out to vote on November 2 to ensure that across the state we elect high quality school board candidates who have our students' best interests in the forefront of their decision-making. The most important ballot to cast this Fall is for those school board candidates who best reflect what is important in our children's education. "While elections for judges and municipal offices are important, parents across the nation have seen just how much power school board members have on our communities. School Boards have the final say on school rankings which directly affect home values, curriculum in our schools, whether schools open or close, parental choice and more" says Schillinger.
SOURCE Back to School PA