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Public school cuts calculator available on Union’s website

09.13.13

SEPTEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Public school cuts calculator available on Union’s website

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 20th- The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union, the largest school employee union in Pennsylvania, has created an online calculator to show the depth of the state’s school funding crisis.

The calculator, which shows how much state funding for local public schools has dropped since Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett took office in 2011, is available at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.

Michael Crossey, President of the PSEA, an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), is a special education teacher in the Keystone Oaks School District, and stated school districts have been pushed to the breaking point by the public education cuts by Mr. Corbett.

“Since Governor Corbett took office, schools are getting less state funding and students are being shortchanged.

This calculator shows how much each school district has lost, and how much work must be done to end this crisis,” stated Mr. Crossey.

The PSEA represents more than 183,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania including throughout the Lehigh Valley.

“A year ago, we told policymakers this crisis would get worse. Now, that’s exactly what’s happening. One more year if inaction has hurt even more students in even more schools,” Mr. Crossey added.

Mr. Crossey said when Governor Corbett signed the 2013-14 state budget into law, he claimed he was providing Pennsylvania’s public schools with state funding increases. In reality, those modest increases fall far short of filling the massive funding gap created when Mr. Corbett cut nearly $1 billion to education during the past two budgets.

In June 2011 Mr. Corbett signed into law a state budget that cut $860 million from public schools. This year’s budget included another round of cuts to education that resulted in cuts to essential public school programs for a total of $1 billion.

So far, four school districts; (Chester Upland, Harrisburg, York, and Duquesne City), have been designated by the Commonwealth as in “financial recovery” status, meaning their fiscal crisis is dire. Four additional districts have been placed in “financial watch” status since Mr. Corbett made his budget cuts.

Because of the cuts, schools district throughout Pennsylvania have laid-off teachers and others have not replaced retiring educators resulting in the PSEA losing approximately 7,000 members.