Guest editorial...Pennsylvania schools facing budget crisis

Jun 13, 2012 Full story: New Pittsburgh Courier Online 31

Past, present and future. Our top two stories last week, one dealt with the past and the other the present and future.

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Spooky Tooth

West Mifflin, PA

#1 Jun 16, 2012
live within your means like all of us have to.
Spooky Tooth

West Mifflin, PA

#2 Jun 16, 2012
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 10:18 AM
Protesters statewide took to the streets May 28, and a total of 25 people were arrested during massive demonstrations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
In Pittsburgh, Superintendent of Schools Linda Laneís recently announced that the district would be cutting 1/6, 300 to 400 teachers, of its teaching staff as part of its efforts to address a budget shortfall. Fifty-five of those are special education teachers, while another 14 paraprofessionals and nine administrators will also be laid off.

The state is directing 7th- and 8th-grade students in the bankrupt Duquesne School District be sent to either East Allegheny or West Mifflin School District next fall.

Philadelphia plans to lay off thousands of employees as it closes 64 schools in the next five years, and earlier this year the Chester Upland District ran out of money entirely.

In Upper Darby, the school district is looking at scaling back its curriculum in the elementary and middle schools and significantly reducing staff to save $4 million.

Other School districts throughout the state are forced to cut back because of the recession, rising costs and in large part due to Governor Tom Corbettís $27 billion-plus budget plan and its proposed reductions to public education.

Parents have expressed outrage over the possibility of the elimination of art, music, library and gym.

In the state capital in Harrisburg the budget crisis is even more severe
Spooky Tooth

West Mifflin, PA

#3 Jun 16, 2012
The Harrisburg school district is looking at eliminating kindergarten and all sports programs, bands, clubs and arts program.

Class sizes would go up to 30 students per class in the elementary grades and 35 students per class in high school.

Corbett has also proposed cutting another $100 million in bloc grants currently used for early education and all-day kindergarten. The governor said he plans to sign a budget on time, meaning it must be finalized by the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

During a meeting with the Journal Register News Company editors and reporters in Norristown last week, Gov. Corbett shifted the blame to local school districts.

He said taxpayers in every district across the state need to look at how the money is being managed by local officials.

It is disingenuous to blame the school districtís money problems on mismanagement by local officials when the state has drastically cut funding to local school districts.

Meanwhile the governor is seeking tax breaks for a multibillion-dollar petrochemical refinery planned by Shell Oil Co. in western Pennsylvania that would essentially give Shell $1.7 billion in tax breaks over the next 25 years.

Governor Corbett signed a pledge not to raises taxes when he campaigned for governor. He is more intent in keeping that pledge than making a commitment to ensure that local school districts receive adequate education funding from the state.
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#4 Jun 16, 2012
More than one person caused all this dysfunction.

We know the state and H-burg has problems. So does every school district that saw this coming over past years and did nothing to address the coming pay and pension crisis. It's here and getting worse because they can't make a workable budget .

Just raise taxes like they used to do will not solve any problems. Art, sports, music, library, and gym ? You know the figures and they aren't working.
welfare queen

West Mifflin, PA

#5 Jun 16, 2012
Cut all useless programs & free lunches..why does WM have to take the welfare kids and then teach them and feed them when they will not contribute anything to society when they grow up just leech off the taxpayers tit. You cant educate those kind of kids.....free breakfast and free lunches are a joke too. when they wear 150 dollar Jerseys,100 dollar sneakers.... wear pants down to their knees YEAH! They be cool!!most likely they are stolen too.
all they do is suck the life out of a town.
cant we put them on the Gateway Clipper and keep sailing until we hit Kenya??
Filthy_Rat

Bethlehem, PA

#6 Jun 16, 2012
It's not exactly a secret where all the money's going. Here's a hint:

http://www.openpagov.org/k12_payroll.asp

Click on "Employee Search", and you'll see where the problem lies. Keep in mind that each one of those listings also requires a commensurate pension obligation.

I believe that word is pronounced "unsustainable".
Filthy_Rat

Bethlehem, PA

#7 Jun 16, 2012
Everyone knows what needs to be done, but they don't want to talk about it. I guess I wouldn't either, if I were taking more and more of your money directly from you - against your will - and putting it directly into my pocket.
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#8 Jun 16, 2012
HB 1776 would have everyone paying taxes . It was tabled because of votes lost if everyone that was given free money had to pay a little more tax.

"It would have been too hard to set a computer program to spread the money evenly throughout districts "

I think it would have been too hard to lose votes for food stamps , free housing , welfare , the best of clothes ,$200 sneakers single Moms, and the list goes on.

Voter fraud , stimulus and more big spending of our taxes will put Obama in for four more years.
He knows what he's doing , when all the big cities and smaller ones vote for more money and larger public employee base the urban voters will lose.
Ann

Street, MD

#9 Jun 17, 2012
We've lost our common sense. Cut back on education and produce illiterate children who can't earn a good living. Less taxes and more problems. Besides the "money" issue which drives our greedy society, I believe there are other places to cut, not schooling. Why do they think that music and the arts are expendable. Many people in our society make a living from the arts. So much greed and waste and they punish the children.
joke

New Castle, PA

#10 Jun 17, 2012
Filthy_Rat wrote:
It's not exactly a secret where all the money's going. Here's a hint:
http://www.openpagov.org/k12_payroll.asp
Click on "Employee Search", and you'll see where the problem lies. Keep in mind that each one of those listings also requires a commensurate pension obligation.
I believe that word is pronounced "unsustainable".
look at all those teachers making 90 grand a year after 15 years. They don't pay their health insurance, they don't pay for their own retirement. What a joke! All your tax money flushed down the toilet. You may not be able to afford to get health insurance but the teachers have a first class plan and don't fork over one penny for it. Your tax money pays for it all.
suck it up

West Mifflin, PA

#11 Jun 17, 2012
Live within the school budget we all have to live on a budget , I have to, you have to,,,,,,,,,, the union goons ruined this country.,........now live with your mistakes and more cutting and more layoffs........I see not too many teachers are getting what they want when their contracts are up ..........suck it up ........welcome to the real world!
( example East Allegheny ) you want bigger raises?
Well just layoff more teachers and cut programs.......the states tit is dried up........
cant have it both ways!
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#12 Jun 17, 2012
Their pension and medical plan can't be changed by state law. If the state of Pa ever makes up what the PSEA thinks are deficient in state payments you will be paying more through state taxes plus your personal district tax.

It can only increase as more teachers are retiring earlier and living longer. Not a bad deal as the medical will soon be as much in benefits as the pension. Then the state takes over your home for back taxes . Start adding all your other taxes to what the state is obligated to pay and sports, art, music, indoor gym unless you want your kids to play in needle park all become expendable to meet pay and pension obligations.
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#13 Jun 17, 2012
suck it up wrote:
Live within the school budget we all have to live on a budget , I have to, you have to,,,,,,,,,, the union goons ruined this country.,........now live with your mistakes and more cutting and more layoffs........I see not too many teachers are getting what they want when their contracts are up ..........suck it up ........welcome to the real world!
( example East Allegheny ) you want bigger raises?
Well just layoff more teachers and cut programs.......the states tit is dried up........
cant have it both ways!
Not yet . The state doesn't make any money . It all comes from your taxes . The idea that more public workers will stimulate the economy is nuts . The bald Eagle showed his class along with the other protestors at the Q-town WaWa. The sign showed what most of them are about. "Keep your Mitts out of my vagina"
joke

New Castle, PA

#14 Jun 17, 2012
Malarky wrote:
Their pension and medical plan can't be changed by state law. If the state of Pa ever makes up what the PSEA thinks are deficient in state payments you will be paying more through state taxes plus your personal district tax.
It can only increase as more teachers are retiring earlier and living longer. Not a bad deal as the medical will soon be as much in benefits as the pension. Then the state takes over your home for back taxes . Start adding all your other taxes to what the state is obligated to pay and sports, art, music, indoor gym unless you want your kids to play in needle park all become expendable to meet pay and pension obligations.
declare war on the teachers union, let them strike. break the unions. Bring in outsiders to teach, offer them pay based on reality with small raises every year, and make them pay for their fair share of their health insurance. Just like everyone else! The teachers are the one who needs to step up, no reason to be able to retire in your 50s making 6 figures and full health insurance. Teachers need to start living in reality. The free rides have to end. Teachers don't care about their education, they want Corbett's neck because they want to continue to get compensation packages that screw the taxpayers and the kids. It is time for the laws to change. Get rid of jump steps. Make teachers accountable for their performance, 401Ks instead of pensions, pay into your health insurance. JUST LIKE THE REST OF US.
Raydot

California City, CA

#15 Jun 17, 2012
This crisis, is it because of Obama, or the 50 million illegal aliens that Americans are forced to take care of. Remember, employers are only interested in illegal aliens, not legal. More are on their way big time. If you think we have a problem with it now, think again. Hey I know, why don't we just take mexico over and then everyone can be a citizen. Oh thats right, employers are only interested in illegal aliens. Oh damn, ya just can't win.
Filthy_Rat

Bethlehem, PA

#16 Jun 17, 2012
Once again, let's not put all of the onus on teachers, and/or the unions. This theft is taking place in ALL ranks of government.

When you single out one group for targeting, you inadvertently exempt all others.
Atchison Redbuttom

Pittsburgh, PA

#17 Jun 17, 2012
During the depression when money was a little tight my Grandmother would blow guys down by the rail road tracks.....Grandpap would put a wig and a dress on and blow them too
Malarky

AOL

#18 Jun 17, 2012
Atchison Redbuttom wrote:
During the depression when money was a little tight my Grandmother would blow guys down by the rail road tracks.....Grandpap would put a wig and a dress on and blow them too
It isn't grandfathers day yet .
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#19 Jun 18, 2012
Churches , schools , and government buildings are exempt from property taxes. PSEA buildings included.

Mike Sturla ,Pa Rep said property taxes are a known source of pay for school teachers, state workers, legislators like myself and I won't take a gamble on the unknown iffy of sales or income tax to fund the state .

I was elected to this job and intend to keep it so I can get a good pension like teachers. I have no desire to go back to painting signs like I did before I was elected here.

I favor all after school activities and the busing to and fro for all of them.

You seniors have it too good even if you have the most seniors of any state beside Florida . You can gamble , play the lottery, and ride buses all for free thanks to my support and payoff from the gaming commission. As soon as we get more gambling casinos up and running you won't realize how good you all have it.

If you don't like the way Pa is being run move to Florida and wrestle with 30 ft anacondas or shoot gators.
Malarky

Catasauqua, PA

#20 Jun 18, 2012
The embers are being stoked and time is running short for all you legislators that hid behind the trade center towers while you voted a 50% raise for youselves and 25% for other state workers.

Just look to your fellow legislators in jail for advice on how to get there when you take up with gamblers and spending money that wasn't yours.

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