FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Ted Harhai
Corbett & GOP dismantling public education in Pa., Harhai says
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Fayette/Westmoreland, today voted against the School Code Bill (H.B. 1352) because it scraps the goal the Legislature set three years ago to ensure that schools are properly funded so that students are proficient in reading and math.
The bill also changes the funding formula so that poorer school districts lose much more state funding than their wealthier counterparts.
In floor debate, members from areas where poorer school districts are located detailed discrepancies between what their districts are losing in the amount of state subsidy as compared to wealthier districts, especially those in areas represented by Republicans.
One of the starkest differences was between the Hazelton Area School District versus the more affluent Moon Area School District in Allegheny County. The financially pressed Hazelton district, where the poverty concentration is nearly 60 percent, the loss per-student is $438, while in Moon Area, with a poverty concentration of 14 percent, the loss per-student is only $195.
"This is a direct assault on public education in Pennsylvania," said Harhai. "We see the results for my four core school districts of Belle Vernon Area, Monessen, Southmoreland and Yough."
Again, in the Moon Area School District, where the representative is a Republican and the poverty concentration is 14 percent, the loss per-student is $195.
By comparison, the Belle Vernon Area School District, with a poverty concentration of 29 percent, will lose $408 per student. In the Monessen City School District, with a poverty concentration of 70 percent, the loss in state subsidy will amount to $521. Yough School District, with a poverty concentration of 43 percent, will have to deal with a loss of $593. And, worst of all, the Southmoreland School District, where the poverty concentration is 45 percent, taxpayers will find the state cutting a whopping $635 per student.
Harhai held out hope that the General Assembly will recognize the need for his legislation (H.B. 1050) which would provide temporary special aid to school districts due to the sudden loss of a major business that drastically reduces its economic base. This happened to the Southmoreland School District when SONY suddenly ended production at its television picture tube plant in East Huntingdon Township.
Harhai added that it has become obvious that Pennsylvania school districts, students, parents and homeowners are facing a Republican crusade to bring about the systematic dismantling of public education in the commonwealth as we know it today.