Lawmakers need to stop starving public schools

To the editor:

It started when the Corbett administration cut funding to the state’s smaller, poorer rural public schools, but that funding cut will finally be restored to them in the new state budget.

It was local taxation that saved these poorer public schools from closing. Incidentally, Pennsylvania’s funding for public schools is notorious for being inequitable; the rich schools get richer, the poor schools get poorer.

Cyber schools drain money away from public schools because state funds obtained from public taxation follows these students to the profit-making cyber schools.

Additionally, businesses that make scholarship donations to local private and religious schools can claim public tax credits, and when a public school student leaves to attend a private school, state funding for the local public school is reduced. This can increase local public school taxes and there is an extra $25 million for public tax credits for private school scholarship donations by businesses included in the new state budget.

Presently, state Sen. John DiSanto has convinced a Senate panel to require local public school districts to transfer about $6,000 into an education savings account for each student who leaves to attend a private school. In essence, public school taxes would be used to support private schools.

Civil War general/two-term Republican President Ulysses S. Grant, an avid supporter of free schools for all children, would be appalled by what is happening in Pennsylvania today to starve the schools.

David L. Faust