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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Area School Superintendents Urge PA To Adequately Fund Education In Budget

Pass the right budget for Pennsylvania’s kids and taxpayers

Property taxpayers and education funding advocates across the Commonwealth – including superintendents, school board members, teachers, and parents -- have been talking to legislators for YEARS about inadequate state funding for public education, our total lack of a predictable school funding formula (until last year) and the Commonwealth’s over-reliance on property taxes to support our students’ academic progress. As superintendents of rural school districts from the Northern Tier, we want our kids to have every opportunity imaginable to succeed in school and in life, and we know that inadequate state funding hurts students as well as homeowners who foot the bill for local property taxes.

That’s why we’ve been telling our local representatives and senator that even despite this economic crisis, we cannot balance the state budget on the backs of Pennsylvania’s students. The 2009-10 state budget must continue the use of the rational and predictable school funding formula adopted last year by investing at least $300 million of stimulus fund in the basic education subsidy increase and it must not reduce the state’s investment in basic education.

Some legislators, including ours, want to cut $729 million out of state funding for basic education and replace it with federal stimulus funds. This would create a $7.4 million hole in our districts when the stimulus funds disappear in just two years. Who would be responsible for filling the hole left by decreased state support? The most obvious answer is our property taxpayers. But let’s not forget that our students would also bear the burden in the form of opportunity costs – lost programs and academic support that drive their achievement.

Why won't our legislators listen to us? We beseech our Senator, who fought for rural school districts and our kids in last year's budget, to do the same again. Now, in these difficult economic times, is the precise moment to deliver the necessary leadership that will address rural school funding in an insightful manner and spare rural taxpayers the agony of increased local tax burdens.

He and others will tell you that school districts are getting an 11 percent increase under a Senate budget plan. But this increase doesn’t come from the state – it’s guaranteed under the federal stimulus package. These dollars are temporary – they disappear in just a couple years – and they are required by law to be used for specific at-risk students and students with disabilities. This “increase” will help certain students in certain schools – not all students like an increase in basic education funding

Another excuse we’ve heard for not maintaining the Commonwealth’s commitment to school funding reform is that the School District of Philadelphia gets too much money from the formula. If our legislators would listen to us, we’d tell them that this debate isn’t about Philadelphia: it’s about OUR funding – every school district in this state -- and what our school districts stand to lose if our legislators don’t step up and support adequate funding for school districts. Our school districts, for example, would lose $ 2.3 million in a basic education funding increase proposed by the Governor.

No more excuses. No more delays. No more talking about property tax relief and our students’ academic progress, as reported recently by the Center for Education Policy, and then proposing to cut state funding for basic education despite these stellar gains. Now is the time to pass the right budget for Pennsylvania and the right budget will prioritize our students, their future and our Commonwealth’s responsibility to adequately fund our school districts.

Op-Ed signed by:
Mr. Scott Graham is the Superintendent of the Northern Potter School District, Mr. David Wishard is the Superintendent of the Galeton Area School District, Mr. Richard Toner is the Superintendent of the Coudersport Area School District and Mr. Matthew Hutcheson is the Superintendent of the Austin Area School District in Potter County. Mr. Robert Falk is the Superintendent of the Otto Eldred School District, Mr. George Romanowski is the Superintendent of the Smethport Area School District, Ms. Sandra Romanowski is the Superintendent of the Bradford Area School District and Mr. Tony Flint is the Superintendent of the Port Allegheny School District in McKean County. Mr. Clyde Moate is the Superintendent of the Cameron County School District in Cameron County and Ms. Anna Kearney is the Superintendent of the St. Mary’s Area School District in Elk County.


Anonymous said...

Do these school superintendents who probably all make more than $100,000 a year plus healthy benefits also support curbing administrative salaries or consolidating the administrative functions? Why not a superintendent overseeing multiple school districts, while principals and business managers handle the individual districts serving under that countywide office? That would improve the school districts financial situation. Isn't that what you want Mssgrs Toner, Wishand, Wicker, Hutcheson, Graham et al?

Anonymous said...

What does that have to do with this article????

Anonymous said...

I think the writer at 3:44 is suggesting that these superintendents should demonstrate their commitment to fiscal responsibility in more ways than writing and signing a form letter.
It makes sense to me.
I would bet that those people who signed that letter cost the taxpayers more than ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN ONE YEAR (salary and benefits)! And don't they all basically do the same thing -- administer a local school district? Why not look into consolidating the administrative offices (not school buildings, just administrative offices)?
It is an idea they always run from and avoid because they realize it makes a lot of sense and would cost some of them their jobs.

Anonymous said...

August 25, 2009 3:44:00 PM
August 25, 2009 8:56:00 PM

Your posts are sooooo right!

How many Supers are needed in this area? I think I counted 10, couldn't we make do with about 1/2 that many?

Heck, Mr. Graham all ready requested a raise with summers off for the job he does at Northern Potter as Superintendent, and that was before his first year was completed!

Oh and let us not forget he also requested a raise with summers off for the new business manager as well...Ya know the one that needed an assistant because she can not handle the work load Rodney did for years, spends twice the amount in legal fees with constant phone calls to our schools solicitor (you can read that amount of $ for yourself in the minutes of past school board meetings as I did) and feels she should make as much as the teachers do! I know because I attended these school board meetings and witnessed and heard it for my self! Maybe it is a good thing our enrollment is down here at No Po or we may need to pay 2 full time business managers!

Should have gotten a degree as well as your teaching credentials IF you want to make the wages the teachers have EARNED and keep updating their certificates...practice what you preach people.

Tons of tax payers money could and would be applied to the needs of our children's educations IF the expense of these superintendents as well as principles, asst. principles, business managers and so on were better managed.

If they want to make the "big money" then move to the "big city"!

Anonymous said...

To the 8:56 writer:
You must either not pay attention during board meetings, fell asleep, or just don't listen. All superintendents and most business managers work in the summer, including those at Northern Potter.

By the way, learn how to spell. It's principal not principle.

Really? said...

10:54...with your advise to 8:56 on spelling... "do not" is proper not "don't"!

"All superintendents and most business managers work in the summer, including those at Northern Potter."...

Yes they do, BUT the ones at Northern Potter did, in fact, request "summers off" with their request for a raise!

"It is an idea they always run from and avoid because they realize it makes a lot of sense and would cost some of them their jobs."...Agree with your statement 100%! Your entire comment was very well stated.

Anonymous said...

"superintendents should demonstrate their commitment to fiscal responsibility"

You betcha, this is it in a nut shell! Kinda reminds me of "do as I say, not as I do"!

It is what it is...

Anonymous said...

I bet if the schools had a "swipe card" they would see how often these people work during the summer. Just stop in and see for yourself who is working. They should be fired for fraud.

Anonymous said...

Based on the spelling & grammer we see on this blog & assuming a large portion of the posters are Potter County graduates, these people are grossly overpaid.

Anonymous said...

I for one, know for a fact that some of the school superintendents do work through the summer. They are there every day and actually work while they are there. One in particular is there from 7:00 am until 3:00pm all summer..Right Matt!

Unknown said...

To 8:56
Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? "Principal" would be found on a 3rd grade spelling test.

"Anonymous 8:56", please don’t get yourself all worked up about the fact that you have missed your career opportunity for "game show contestant". I still send my congratulations to you.

Congratulations! You are well on your way to attaining your true potential for any one of the following: Cyber-bully, slanderer, defamer, and yarn spinner. Please allow me to help you decipher my meaning here. Yarn spinner has nothing to do with knitting. This refers to one’s ability to tell a tall tale.

“BMs or Supers not working summers” - NOT true.
“NPs BM or Super asking to not work during the summer” - NEVER happened.

Just for you my dear I offer this challenge. Follow this very simple 6 step program to full recovery (PBSSCB)
1) Pull yourself up from that level from which you have plunged.
2) Become a better person.
3) Show your children, my children, and all the children of our community how a person with good values and morals should conduct themselves.
4) Show your support for your local school district.
5) Come out from under your shroud of anonymity by never allowing fear to keep you from stating your name and standing behind your words.
6) BELIEVE in yourself and the members of your community!

Anonymous said...

August 28, 2009 2:58:00 PM
“NPs BM or Super asking to not work during the summer” - NEVER happened."

Yes it did!
Did they receive their request, NO!!

Maybe you need to practice what you preach!

Why are you judging this poster?

How do you know they do not support their local school district?

How do you know they do not have good morals or values? Is it because they feel differently about a matter than you do?

Maybe since you are so judgemental "to you my dear I offer this challenge", you need to take the very simple 6 step program to full recovery (PBSSCB)! Right back at'cha!

I completely read and re-read the 8:56's post, did not see that they even mentioned NP's BM or Super?! Maybe you need to be on a game show, "consentration"!

Talk about cyber-bully and yarn spinner!

Anonymous said...

I did not see where poster 8:56 even used the word "Principal"!

"superintendents" is what this poster discussed!

Witty blog from you? I think not!

Anonymous said...

2:58...FYI its concentration, not "consentration"