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Teachers Union President opposes school voucher program

12.29.11

NOVEMBER 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Teachers Union President opposes school voucher program

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 25th- The President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union, which represents approximately 193,000 active, and retired teachers, school employees and health care workers in Pennsylvania, registered strong opposition to Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1, which includes a school voucher program.

Michael J. Crossey, President of the PSEA, called on legislators to oppose the legislation, which includes tuition voucher, charter school expansion, and tax credit plans that would take even more funds from local school districts. Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett supports the legislation that was introduced on October 25th. Mr. Corbett’s budget cut $860 million from public school funding.

“Tuition voucher plans like Senate Bill 1 will put public education in Pennsylvania on the wrong track. We need to get public school funding moving in the right direction again and the fitst step is to reject expensive voucher plans that don’t work,” stated Mr. Crossey.

A recent study released by two groups representing public school administrators and business managers showed that state funding cuts have forced school districts to increase class sizes, eliminate course offerings, and cut tutoring programs.

The Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA) and the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials (PASBO) surveyed the state’s 500 school districts and documented their findings.

Children started the new school year and found fewer teachers and school staff, larger class sizes, reduced course offerings, outdated textbooks, reduced opportunities for extra help and cuts to and fees charged for extracurricular activities, states the report.

“The state funding cuts hit our struggling schools the hardest. How can you help schools by cutting their funding? Tuition voucher plans would take even more money away from those students. It just doesn’t make sense,” added Mr. Crossey.

The report was released on September 14th and shows that class sizes have increased in 70 percent of school districts that responded. The report also pointed out that course offerings have disappeared in nearly half of the school districts, and tutoring opportunities have been eliminated in many others. Full-day and pre-kindergarten have been eliminated in some school districts.

The report found 3,556 teachers, 739 administrators and 4,000 other employees have lost their jobs and 5,883 positions have been vacant in nearly 60 percent of the state’s 500 school districts.

“Tuition voucher plans will take even more money away from our public school students. Educators know it, the public knows it, and we need to make sure that our elected officials know it too,” Mr. Crossey added.

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