New Republican Governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania believes in shared sacrifice. That’s why he has decided to slash education funding by over $1 billion, while cutting corporate taxes. Wait, that doesn’t sound right? But it gets better.
In some instances, cuts to poor districts are ten times as high as cuts to more affluent districts, according to an analysis done by the Education Law Center. For example, the Steelton-Highspire School District, with a poverty rate of 68.2%, would get $1,139 less from the state per student, or $28,477 less for a class of 25. Meanwhile, Derry Township, with a poverty rate of 12.3%, would only see $121 in cuts per student from the state. So what is Corbett’s real agenda?
Curiously enough, Delaware County, home to the Chester Community Charter School, the largest charter school in Pennsylvania, is only seeing $100 in cuts per student. Even more curious is that Vahan Gureghian, CEO of the Chester Community Charter School, was the largest campaign contributor on Tom Corbett’s transition team, having given him $334,286 over the past three years. Speaking of charter schools, Corbett is starting a school voucher program for students living in failing school districts that is expected to cost $1 billion over the next three years. Shockingly, funds to the 144 school districts targeted for the voucher program were cut twice as much on average per student then other school districts.
And this is where the pieces start to fall into place. Corbett’s plan is to use Pennsylvania’s “budget crisis” to suck money out of the traditional public school system and funnel it to his wealthy campaign contributors in the charter school business. And if the quality of education for tens of thousands of poor children continues to slip, so be it. When will voters realize that unless they are the one paying their bills and buying their allegiance, Republicans do not care about them, or their kids, and they never will?