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Lawmaker seeks funds for Scotland School

March 17, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Cumberland/Franklin, testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee to ask for funding to keep open the Scotland School for Veterans' Children.

Gov. Ed Rendell proposed closing the school during his annual budget address. The school is primarily funded by a $10.5 million appropriation in the state budget. The elimination of funding would effectively close the school, send 288 students back home and leave 186 people jobless.

The school provides housing and an education for relatives of veterans. Seventy percent of the students come from Philadelphia looking for a safe environment to live, learn and grow.

"The closure of the school demonstrates the lack of planning and foresight put into this decision by this administration," Kauffman said in a news release. "There is no plan for the displaced faculty and staff of the school. There is no plan for the 168-acre campus in the middle of Scotland. And there certainly is no plan for the almost 300 students who would be devastated by the closure of the school."

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The governor cited the high cost of educating students at the school as a main reason for targeting its closure. Kauffman said opportunities might exist to look at efficiencies, larger enrollment to decrease the per-capita cost and partnerships to save public dollars.

"But as we look at Scotland School, we must not just look at a dollar figure," Kauffman said in the release. "For more than 100 years, Scotland School has been measured by the lives of young people who have been transformed."

The state budget will be debated over the next few months with a deadline for passage of June 30.

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