To the editor:
Gov. Corbett: Which public school program would you cut from Mifflin County public schools? Art classes, music programs, sports activities or technical education classes?
This is the question many public education advocates would like answered by the governor and our elected state legislators. It is time that politicians take responsibility for the financial crises they have created in our public schools.
It is wrong to balance the state's budget on the backs of our school children and local taxpayers, when the state can easily fund public education by getting rid of corporate tax loopholes and imposing a tax on the gas industry.
At 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19, public education supporters from Mifflin County gathered for a WE ARE ONE for public education solidarity rally. Our goal was to send a strong message to our elected officials that we must make Pennsylvania's children a priority by restoring and improving funding to our public schools.
The rally, which was sponsored by We Are One for Public Education in Mifflin County Coalition, was at the Mifflin County School District Administrative Offices, in Lewistown.
The rally was to include students, parents, community members, business leaders, teachers, support staff, principals, superintendents and other concerned citizens. It is not often that so many different segments of the public education family come together, but the governor's proposed budget has become a common focal point for those who care about children and our communities.
If the governor is successful in getting his proposed budget approved, Mifflin County's public schools will have lost $3.5 million since 2010. What is even more unfair is that the poorest districts in the state are the ones being hardest hit by Corbett's budget.
So as a result, we continue to cut student programs, eliminate jobs and increase class size. To deal with the deficit, our district is also considering subcontracting school jobs to a private, out of town, for-profit corporation. The privatization of local public jobs will further hurt our community and local families.
What is so disturbing about this political battle is that clearly the state has the ability to generate funds to adequately fund our public schools. Did you know that two-thirds of corporations in Pennsylvania pay no state taxes at all? They use tax loopholes to avoid paying these taxes. Many of them get a post office box in Delaware and call that their base of operations. It is time to close the Delaware tax loophole.
Did you know that a family earning $36,000 a year pays more in state taxes than 84 percent of corporations in Pennsylvania? Did you know that of the top 15 natural gas producing states, Pennsylvania is the only one not to have an excise tax? Taxing Marcellus Shale makes sense. Maybe you also didn't know that Gov. Corbett's campaign received $835,000 from the gas industry.
Association of Mifflin County Educators