MUNHALL (KDKA) — Standing to lose nearly $2.5 million in state subsidies, Steel Valley has joined other school districts in making some hard decisions. They’re cutting teachers and staff.
Last month, state legislators discovered $500 million in surplus revenues. They put it in a rainy day fund, but a lot of educators say it’s already raining.
The pain of $1 billion in state education funding cuts is being felt all over Pennsylvania totaling 2000 teacher jobs, 1000 jobs in education support staff and another fewer 1,200 teachers lost to attrition.
“Public education is being tested and public education could change drastically for the worse,” said Butch Santicola of the “Pennsylvania State Education Association,” which represents teachers.
KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson reports:
On Tuesday night, the Steel Valley School District reluctantly released the names of 39 full-time teachers and one part-time position that are being let go for the next school year.
“It’s devastating particularly in this district,” said Diana Borges, the spokesperson for the district. “We tried to do it across the board – we’ve not eliminated any program.”
Made up of Homestead, West Homestead and Munhall, in the past decade this district has seen a 21 percent decline in enrollment. The teacher cuts will mean classes will be more crowded.
“Absolutely,” says Borges. “There’ll be increase in class size.”
Although, all-day kindergarten, which has been cut elsewhere, will stay.
“We did lose the ABG grant just like many other places, but we are at least for the unforeseen future keeping all-day kindergarten,” said Borges.
Princess Criner, who has children in four different grades within the district, says they’re struggling as it is.
“[They're] cutting out the music, the art, now they’re taking away our teachers – like that’s unbelievable – that’s really hard,” said Criner.
“It’s going to have an impact on what’s offered in the schools,” added Santicola. “It’s going to have an impact on class size; it’s going to have an impact on the number of people that are going to be available to help the kids in this school district.”
The Steel Valley School District sent home a letter to all parents and guardians asking them to contact Gov. Tom Corbett and the State Education Secretary to let them know that these cuts will jeopardize students going to college or getting good jobs – a serious impact on the community.
KDKA’s Heather Abraham has the latest on education funding: