Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Article excerpt

The following CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION appeared on June 2, 2017.The Baldwin-Whitehall School District has not taken action to cut its full-day kindergarten program. A story on school superintendents' criticism of state education funding incorrectly reported that it had already done so, but superintendent Randal A. Lutz said it is one of several reductions that Baldwin-Whitehall would need to consider if state funding does not improve.

The Baldwin-Whitehall School District may have to cut full-day kindergarten if state education funding does not improve.

McKeesport High School has gotten rid of 35 of its 100 teachers.

The Yough School District has increased property taxes by nearly 14 mills, or 19 percent.

School superintendents from those Western Pennsylvania districts and seven others held a joint news conference Wednesday to outline such unwanted steps already taken - and warn of harsher ones that could lie ahead - due to budget pressures they blame on state government. Mandated costs such as pensions, special education and payments to charter and cyber schools have risen far faster than the state's help with basic education costs, and students are increasingly the victims of necessary belt-tightening, the officials said.

"If immediate systemic action is not taken, I fear the public school buildings in our local area will soon look exactly like the dreary, abandoned steel mills that once were symbols of community growth and hope," said Dan Castagna, superintendent of the West Mifflin Area School District

His high school hosted the media event, a collaborative effort among diverse districts - large and small, urban and rural, affluent and poor. Through the Campaign for Fair Education Funding coalition, the superintendents' appearance coincided with four similar conferences taking place elsewhere across Pennsylvania the same day.

School districts and other public education advocates across the state say that unavoidable increases in costs dwarf the size of modest funding increases anticipated from the state in its 2017-18 budget. …

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