Local Schools Poised To Cut Programs In Wake Of Governor’s Budget

NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) — Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget cuts are having an impact on local school districts.

The East Allegheny School District has nearly 2,000 students. The annual average family income is about $35,000.

Since Corbett sharpened his red pencil, there could be a lot less money for educating students – between $1.7 million and $1.9 million, according to Superintendent Roger D’Emidio.

State block grants pay for full-day kindergarten. The program, which is working, would disappear. “We started this four years ago and we saw a big difference,” D’Emidio said.

The superintendent says taxpayers in the district can’t handle more. “We have to make the best of what we … have and it is what it is,” he said.

Courtney Hughes, mother of 3-year-old Kayleigh and 1-month-old Gabriella, is angry. “They shouldn’t be cutting education,” she said.

The West Mifflin Area School District is already looking at a more than $3 million shortfall. Corbett’s additional $1 million-plus in proposed cuts would eliminate some reading, French, music and business classes.

“What we have to do about it is stand up and say, ‘This is not going to fly’ and we have to amend this,” State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, said.

He says well-heeled communities would take much smaller hits than poor districts. For example, McKeesport Area Schools are looking at a $4.38 million reduction in state reimbursements while in Upper St. Clair, the cut is around $553,000.

“I think if enough of us band together, he won’t have the votes to pass the budget,” Kortz said.

East Allegheny and West Mifflin also receive funding to provide high school classes for 160 Duquesne-area students. That money is also missing from the Corbett budget.

Kortz says now is the time for those unhappy with the proposed education cuts to contact their state representatives and let them know how you feel.

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  • George

    Who cares? They only work 9 mos. a year. Do more with less. We all do.

    • Herbert G. Kornfeld

      That’s a really stupid comment. The first flaw with your “logic” should be obvious…THEY HAVE NO INCOME FOR 3 MONTHS. You think it’s easy to live with no paycheck for 3 months?

      The second flaw in your thinking (which really shows how UNEDUCATED you are on the whole subject) is that ONLY TEACHERS work 9 months. Everybody else works then entire 12 months. Do you think the curriculum will coordinate itself, and magically be prepared on the first day of school with nobody working on it all summer? Do you think building repairs lie in wait for 3 months, then just spring up out of the ground overnight?? I suppose you think miles of old CAT3 cable is easy to replace, and that miles of CAT6 cable only takes 5 minutes to install???

      Judging by the ignorance of your comment, it’s obvious that we haven’t spent ENOUGH on education. If people come through the system as stupid as you even with all this money we’re “wasting” on it, I can’t wait to see how stupid they are when they ONLY receive the bare necessities of education.


        SEE YOU IN 2012.

      • Zoeyzotron

        HERBERT – Get in touch with reality… They are paid very very well for a 9 MONTH JOB. In fact they are paid well above the PA average for a 12 month job. WAKE UP – there is NO money left. Teachers will have to join the recession that the rest of us have been in for 2 years.

      • Herbert G. Kornfeld

        I like how you support your argument with examples and facts. Clearly, you are HIGHLY educated because you are a master of rhetoric. It takes a lot of smarts to simply hit caps lock, then call someone names. You should a consider a career in sales. When you see someone browsing for a new car, just walk over to them and shout “KORNHOLE”. That’s the best way to convince people of things…

        I highly doubt our careers and interests will allow us to cross paths in 2012. I’m not even sure what that was supposed to mean. And this isn’t my REAL name either (duh), so you can call me “HERBIE KORNHOLE” all you’d like. I’m sure the real Herbie may be insulted, but not me.

  • John

    Rich kids go to private schools. Rich parents get to keep more in the bank because they pay less taxes than they ever have. You think cutting public school funding hurts now, wait until your kids enroll in college. Welcome to the world you voted for Republicans. A lesser, greedier America awaits us all….

    • sal

      Stop crying about the rich people and get a better job and pay for your own kids
      we can lob off tons of fat from the educational system….it is always the same the POOR KIDS….meanwhile it is the teachers and the school administrators that get all the money… let stop buying lunch for all the kids and let the parents pay for it…lets stop giving away baby sitters and let the pareents apy for it…..

      • swin

        Very well stated but do you realize that your argument is totally illogical?

        Everyone uses roads. Even if you don’t own a car, everything you use in your home, everything you eat, and all the materials the house was built with was delivered viz a road.

        Now all your other examples – they all involve paying for insurance. I have a fire extinguisher at home. I hope I never use it, but I bought it IN CASE I DO NEED IT. I’m paying for security and I am getting what I paid for – same thing with unemployment insurance, police protection, etc. etc. The U. S. Army falls into the same category.

        The fault lies in your political philosophy. Let me quote you…
        ‘In my opinion, taxes are a way to guarantee a baseline way of life for EVERYONE.’ Well this is not what our Constitution says – it gives everyone the right to PURSUE happiness but it does not guarantee to anyone that the happiness will be attained. You want the nanny state, the government that takes of everybody.

        Let me quote you again from another comment you made……
        ‘Your other argument, which is equally silly, seems to be that parents should foot the bill for the education of their kids, instead of sharing out the costs to ALL taxpayers.’ Well that’s not silly at all. It is a perfectly sound argument – if people want something, including kids, they should pay for it.

        The gist of your argument is that you want something and you want somebody else to pay for it. This failed philosophy has put us $14 trillion in debt. This failed philosophy has created a situation where more and more people are living off of wealth produced by the fewer and fewer people who are working.

        As has been said about liberalism – eventually they run out of other people’s money to pay for it. This is EXACTLY what you are saying we should do.

        And why don’t you look up the history of schooling in America. People would move into a new area, get settled, farm the land, begin to prosper, pool their resources and build a school and hire a teacher. I’m sure people without kids helped but there was no law forcing them to do so. Then along came big government and told the people ‘you can’t do that, we must be in charge’ and then came school districts, football fields, unions, required curriculum, standardized tests, and of course the ultimate insult – school busing, where the kids were actually taken out of the neighborhood where the school had been built, and all because somebody was counting the number of different color faces in the classroom.

        Privatize schools. Get government completely out of the schooling business. Have parents pay the full cost of educating the kids they supposedly chose to bring into this world. I guarantee you won’t have kids bused miles to schools, I’ll bet you won’t have schools that have 1 administer for every 3 teachers, I’m sure you won’t have fieldhouses and football fields with artificial turf, you won’t have money-sucking state and federal departments of education, there won’t be billion dollar standardized test creating companies, and I doubt there would be many discipline problems and very few kids would be ‘left behind.’

      • Zoeyzotron

        SAL – Well said!

      • Herbert G. Kornfeld

        SWIN: Then according to your logic we don’t need taxes. People should only pay for what they use. If you have kids, YOU should pay for their education. If you do NOT have kids, then you shouldn’t be forced to pay taxes for education. That’s how I am interpreting what you said. But why are you only targeting education? If this is such a great idea, why not apply it to everything?

        What if you don’t travel very much? Then why should YOU have to pay all those taxes to repair highways and bridges, and to build new roads? We could just put a toll booth on every single roadway, then Americans only need to pay when they use it.

        What if you’ve never needed to call the police for help? Why should YOU have to pay taxes on something that you’ve never needed? Perhaps we should just make 911 a toll number, and when you call for police help you have to give them a credit card number so that they can bill you for services rendered?

        Perhaps you’ve never been unemployed? Some people in this forum seem to think that there are jobs laying around all over the place, just waiting to be taken. Then why should YOU have to pay so much taxes for unemployment compensation? Let the unemployed people pay for it themselves… durrr what?

        Perhaps you’ve always had medical insurance through your employer or your parents? Then why do YOU have to pay taxes for Medicaid to help the elderly and the poor? We can just let elderly people on fixed incomes foot their own bill.

        In my opinion, taxes are a way to guarantee a baseline way of life for EVERYONE. Sick or healthy, your or old, rich or poor. Even if you don’t actually use highways, you still pay taxes on them to help make sure that our state (and country) can still function at a certain level. You may never use police or fire/rescue, but you pay for it to make sure that it is there in case you need it. You may never have been unemployed, but you still pay unemployment compensation just in case you ever need it in the future. I pay for education happily, even though I have no children, because it promises that a majority of kids will have the basic skills they needs to survive in our messed-up world.

        This strange model that you suggest, in which people ONLY pay for the things that they need, simply doesn’t work. You suggest a world where ONLY the rich prosper and the poor, sick, and elderly are left to rot.

      • swin

        Let’s see – kids need to be fed and the parents pay for it, kids need to be clothed and the parents pay for it, kids need to be housed and the parents pay for it, and kids need to be educated and everybody else needs to help pay for it. I don’t get it.

        And another point, at a population of 300 million people already, the last thing this country needs is even more kids. Too bad the Chinese and Indians didn’t realize that when they reached 300 million souls in their countries it was time to start putting the brakes on.

      • Herbert G. Kornfeld

        Could have sworn i read something in the news about a bad economy? Something about it being tough to find work? It must be my imagination, because you make getting a new job sound SO easy.

        There was a point in time when people thought that being a TEACHER was a “better job”. Apparently those days are gone.

        I’m hearing 2 arguments from you, and neither one of them makes very much sense. One argument seems to be that teachers and administrators “get all the money”. In other words, you claim that they make too much money. What special set of skills did God bestow upon you that gives you this amazing ability to know exactly how much a career should pay? No matter how much they are paid, someone will always say “they make too much” and someone will always say ‘they make too little.” Perhaps you have visions of some strange utopia in which EVERYONE makes $40,000, that way nobody makes too much or too little? Think about how stupid that sounds.

        Your other argument, which is equally silly, seems to be that parents should foot the bill for the education of their kids, instead of sharing out the costs to ALL taxpayers. Why stop with lunches? We can also get rid of buses and force the parents to drive their kids to school. That would save a TON of cash in buses, maintenance, drivers, drug tests, crossing guards. We can force the parents to buy the books, just like college students have to buy their own books. We could make the parents pay for EVERYTHING if we wanted to, and it would save the state (and country) a lot of money. THINK OF ALL THE MONEY WE COULD SAVE IF WE GOT RID OF EDUCATION ALTOGETHER!

        Also it begs the question: If we don’t NEED these programs now, why did we “waste” money on them in the first place? If teachers don’t NEED to make the amount that they currently make, why did we “wast”e money on it in the past? If we don’t NEED to pay for the students’ lunches, why did we “waste” money on it before? You can’t cut things that you NEED, so I can only assume that these things aren’t needed.

        Do you think very many people would want to have children if they legally are forced to pay a TON of cash for their basic education? I’m sure our birth rate would drop dramatically if we stopped giving tax deductions for children. Then we’d have fewer adults going into the work force in about 20 years, which in turns means less money generated from taxes. Of course this leads to a budget shortfall, and education spending will be cut in order to make ends meet. But those costs would simply be passed on to the parents…But then fewer people would want to be parents, which means fewer adults going into the work force in 20 years…blah blah blah.

        Why don’t you tell gas drillers to “make more with less”, and tax them like EVERY OTHER STATE IN OUR ENTIRE COUNTRY DOES? They are privately owned and operated purely FOR PROFIT. Instead, you are telling the publicly funded education system to “make more with less”?

        I’m sorry but I have to ask… Are you actually Corbett, just pretending to be a regular jag-off? Or are you just a regular jag-off?

  • concerned resident

    Voting for change just for change sake is now producing the fruit of radical thinking. It’s turning out to be a union busting and education bashing mentality.
    Conservative logic is to cut spending for education, that’s like cutting off a runners legs then asking him to run faster.
    Education is the seed of the future. Wake up and smell the coffee. Remember, there’s another election coming. Remember !


      I am with out a doubt going to remember in 2012, and vote against the communist
      who passed an unconstitutional health care bill that limits freedom.
      I refuse to forget what Obama and his thugs rule me with their bull, and I personally dealt with my kids school and their crying every time you ask them to do their job.
      Education is the seed to the future and I urge every parent to get involved with their child’s education and you might wake up to what’s going on in your child’s school and has been going on before any budget cuts. I can’t wait till 2012.

  • sal

    concderned resident]. we spend way to ,much money on education as it is…we have terrible teachers and no matter how much more money we waste into the educational system the onl people that will benefit are the teachers and school administrators…

    • Chris

      And here we see how education has failed us. That we have a society in which someone can feel comfortable expressing themselves so poorly and with such bad grammar is an indictment of the educational system.

  • sal

    who should the people HAPPY with the cuts contact???
    oh yeah our representatives that we elected….
    we have no money….everyone must tighten the belt….
    stop the b s about the poor kids

  • BGJ

    I encourage everyone to look at their local school district’s financial records. The individual educational cost per child has risen sharply over the last few decades. This increase is not in line with the cost of living increase. You will be surprised to find less than 25% goes to educational materials. More than 50% of school budgets go to salaries, benefits, and retirement accounts. Meaning, a large portion of these allocated monies goes directly into the pockets of tenure teachers and administrators. Herein lies the problem. State money, YOUR tax dollars are NOT largely funding student education. This is evident with declining in student performance and failing schools.

    • Zoeyzotron

      I would encourage you all to review this website and see how “awful” the poor teachers have it…. VERY VERY WELL Compensated.


      Remember all you union lambs, compensation = WAGE+ BENEFITS. your Pensions and cheap healthcare are the issue here.

  • BGJ

    I tried to post statistics but CBS will not allow me to post! BIG Government at work no doubt. So I will leave you with a closing thought, “school districts need accountability in the quality of education they provide to insure tax payers get a fair return for their monies!”

    • Chris

      Big government is stopping you from posting relevant statistics? That’s a fascinating theory you have there. Anyway, let’s focus on the meat of the matter. Let us assume that your statistics are correct. What you are saying is that labor costs are approximately 50% of the budget. You present that information with the implication that this is outrageous being that it’s twice the rate of educational material expenditure. However, I must ask you, aren’t teachers the true source of all education in a school? As such shouldn’t their salary costs be seen as part of the educational outlay for each student? What good is it to give a student a textbook and no teacher?

      So let’s think this through – the starting salary of teachers – who have a minimum of fours years of university education and then additional training is under $30,000 a year. A somewhat decent bartender can make $50,000 a year. Admittedly, a bartender will work all year through – but usually only 3 to 4 days a week and less than 8 hours on each of those days. So if you compare the value proposition we are saying that we value bartenders more than we value teachers. Would you agree with that? The people that we hand our children over to – day after day for hours each day makes less than the person who will eventually get them drunk. Personally, I find that a sad state of affairs.

      Education matters. I feel that we *must* retain good teachers and, even if it means going against the unions, get rid of failing teachers. HOWEVER, the teachers we retain should be paid more. We must value what they do. Our future economic strength is entirely dependent on the educational attainment of our children. We cannot excel as a country if education is seen as expendable. Obviously we have to value education and demand the best education we can get. We *also* have to be willing to pay for it. You can’t have excellent schools that run on a non-existent budget.

      • Zoeyzotron

        CHRIS – WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD… First off a starting Salary of $30000 for a 9 month job is high. Second, see the website I posted above and you will find many many districts start well above $30,000. Gateway comes to mind at $44000…. Third, if you are unhappy with your teacher pay or career choice, then DO SOMETHING ELSE.

        WELCOME TO THE RECESSION, the rest of us have been here for 2 years.

  • swin

    Shouldn’t you be cutting out the football team before you cut kindergarten? After all, it is a SCHOOL system, am I not correct?

  • cliff

    if the kids want to study german ,french latin or play sports then should be pay as you go you want to do it you pay for it

    • Chris

      I agree! If kids want to learn say… english there should be a charge for it! Same goes for math, science, and all of those other courses. Schools shoudl be nothing more than giant warehouses you send children to to get them out of your hair for the day. That way we can just pay teachers like we would any other babysitter. Let’s see – that’s $5/hour @ 7 hours a day @ 30 kids per teacher. That’s roughly $1050 a day to the teacher. For a typical 180 day school year that’s $190,000. I’m pretty sure the teachers will go for that. Or we can keep paying them $40,000 a year and have them actually educate our children. Dunno – seems like $40K is a bargain if you ask me.

      • Zoeyzotron

        CHRIS – Check out my website… Not many teachers making 40K a year… ADD you PENSION in and you HEALTH CARE too, thats the real #, you selfish union lamb.

  • Richard

    It’s about time school districts were forced to ‘live within their means’ instead of ‘tax and spend’! Kids need text books and computers to prepare for their future, not auditoriums with state of the art sound systems, new field houses or artificial turf on their playing fields. The budget cut was a great start but it needs to be followed up with two more things. One is to make it illegal for teachers to strike (only three states allow it) and the other is to pass legislation requiring a referendum vote before school districts can raise taxes above the rate of inflation!

  • Bear

    Is it not amazing, that some of the smartest people I ever worked with, had a 9th grade education, from a one room school house, without football, french, or gulf lessons, let alone a pool, gym, or school lunches for free (their mother packed a lunch), built this country. How in the hell can anyone tell me that $5000 a year per student makes a difference? Time to get BACK TO THE BASICS.

    • swin

      1. If you friends attended a one room school house, in what year during the 19th
      century were you born?
      2. The smartest people you knew may only have had a 9th grade education but they surely weren’t the most educated. Intelligence without knowledge is like a craftsman without tools – what good is it?

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