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New lobbyist hired: Welcome to PAIS, Malady and Wooten

This summer, Speaker of the House Mike Turzai garnered support from both the Senate and the House for House Bill 800, which proposed to increase funding for EITC by $100 million, with no funding allocated to public schools. This stirred considerable controversy, especially among public school advocates and those opposed to “school choice.” The governor immediately vetoed the bill.

Caught in the backlash, independent schools became a target when a radio station used the controversy to stir up debate about school use of EITC dollars. No doubt, EITC will continue to be scrutinized closely, especially among those opposed to “school choice.” 

Of course, EITC discussions are not the only matters that pertain to independent schools. Consequently, PAIS is committed to retaining lobbyists to maintain vigilance in Harrisburg and, when necessary, mobilize to protect the interests of independent schools.

Earlier this year, following the announcement that David Tive, PAIS’s long-standing lobbyist, would be transitioning into semi-retirement, the search for a new firm began. Pat Hennessy, Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the PAIS Board of Directors, and Gary Niels, Interim Executive Director of PAIS, interviewed prospective firms with knowledge of independent schools; the PAIS Legislative Affairs Committee and the Board Executive Committee then interviewed finalists.

PAIS is pleased to announce that Dennis Giorno and his firm, Malady and Wooten were selected as the new PAIS lobbyist. Dennis and firm founder John Malady impressed the committees with their knowledge of education issues in Pennsylvania. And not only does Dennis have a history and close ongoing relationship with the framers of the original EITC bill, he has connections with the association of Catholic Schools, important private school allies. Moreover, Malady and Wooten has a long, distinguished and reputable history in Harrisburg with close associations on “both sides of the aisle.”

“Dennis has deep connection to education matters in both the General Assembly and at the Department,” Hennessey said. “As part of the initial coalition that drafted and pushed passage of the initial EITC legislation, independent schools will have a strong advocate and a seat at the table in Harrisburg on this vital issue – and all issues – that affect independent schools.”

“PAIS schools will soon enjoy the benefit of enhanced communication on any matters pertaining to legislative and regulatory affairs in Harrisburg,” Niels added.



Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) • 37 East Germantown Pike, Suite 302 • Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
610-567-2960 • Fax 610-567-2963

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PAIS is an equal opportunity employer. PAIS and its member schools comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding discrimination in admissions and employment.
PAIS is recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to accredit private schools in the State of Pennsylvania.
PAIS is internationally recognized through the International Council Advancing Independent School Accreditation (ICAISA) Commission on Accreditation.

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