Greg Venneman started Bethlehem Area School District Proud Parents in 2010 because he was inspired by Pennsylvania Education Voters and similar groups who work towards increasing public school state funding. “…a lack of state education funding not only impacts the quality of the education students receive, it also causes the local community to bear a greater burden through local taxes,” says Venneman.
Venneman, along with his 3 additional cofounders, have been working for over 10 years to educate the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD) parents about the importance of advocating and making their voices heard, not only in their local community but also at the state level. “BASD Proud Parents is a group of pro-public education parents who’ve come together to educate and empower ourselves so that we can effectively participate in policy discussions that shape our schools. We follow legislation that is currently being debated in Harrisburg; we meet with our legislators to build relationships and ensure that parents’ voices are effectively heard in policy discussions; we help shine a light on the innumerable ways our schools are working for our children and our communities.”
While their biggest struggle is the general apathy of parents and community members, BASD Proud Parents has made an impact. “We were able to effectively advocate with a local legislator that resulted in receiving a grant to cover the entire cost of our First in Math program and funding for electric school buses,” says Venneman. “If we’re successful, the entire BASD school age population will have access to the tools and resources necessary to prepare them to be positive contributors to society.”