Advertisement

Letters to the Editor - April 13

April 13, 2013

Pa. taxpayers are overfunding charter schools

To the editor:

Reps. Rob Kauffman and Todd Rock and Sen. Rich Alloway claim to support public education and the taxpayers in their districts who struggle with their property tax bills. Unfortunately, their actions tell a very different story.

The Waynesboro and Greencastle-Antrim school districts recently announced massive budget deficits for the 2013-14 school year. These school districts will likely cut educational programs and raise taxes to cover the shortfall. 

With the stroke of a pen, our area legislators could save Franklin County school districts millions of dollars each year by fixing a broken funding formula and eliminating wasteful spending on cyber charter schools.

A recent audit by former Auditor General Jack Wagner found that Pennsylvanians are paying cyber charter schools $365 million per year.

Franklin County school districts will spend more than $5.3 million in tuition payments so that about 600 children in Franklin County may attend cyber schools in 2012-13.

A recent report generated by Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley found that in Franklin County, taxpayers will spend about $2.3 million in excess payments to cyber charter schools in 2012-13 alone.

Many state lawmakers have finally realized that overpaying cyber charter schools is bad for children and taxpayers. The Capitol is filled with bills that would fix this problem, reduce the wasteful spending and provide additional revenue to our school districts without a tax increase.

Our fiscally conservative, supposedly pro-public education Franklin County lawmakers have not co-sponsored one piece of legislation to eliminate this overpayment to cyber charter schools. Instead of standing up for children and taxpayers, they appear to support Gov. Corbett’s policies and the special interests that are making money hand over fist off our local property tax payments.

We need to demand that our lawmakers stand up for the taxpayers and children they were elected to represent. To learn more about charter and cyber charter school funding, go to http://reformpacharterschools.wordpress.com.

Erica Burg
Shippensburg, Pa.


Investment in economic recovery is starting to pay off

To the editor:

In a recent letter, Ned Garrett stated his belief that President Obama views America’s wealth as a detriment to the world and that Obama intends to “downsize America through a redistribution of this wealth.” This, Garrett wrote, will make Americans dependent on the federal government and ripe for socialism.  

I find these statements to be merely a repetition of conservative propaganda and a parroting of Paul Ryan’s claims of “class warfare.” There is, however, an alternate interpretation of policies that we should consider. 

The gap between the middle class and the rich is growing at an alarming rate. The richest 10 percent own 73 percent of U.S. wealth, while the bottom 90 percent own only 27 percent.

Using 2007 post-tax dollars, between 1979 and 2007 the wealthiest 1 percent of the U.S. population increased its share of the nation’s income by 120 percent. In contrast, the next wealthiest 19 percent grew its income only 30 percent. Worse, the bottom 80 percent decreased in share, and the lowest 20 percent lost a whopping 30 percent.

The ballooning income gap coincides with the introduction of supply-side economics, also called “Reaganomics.” This beloved conservative strategy is intended to make the rich richer (it did), in hopes that some wealth will “trickle down” to you and me. But 30 years of supply-side policy has proved that its benefits only trickle up. Paul Ryan is right about a class war, but it’s the middle class that’s losing.

The Obama tax proposal would slow the growing gap. The goal of bringing the budget into balance is also doable. Clinton did it, and without cutting Social Security and Medicare, which would further widen the gap. But we should not squander our trillion dollar-plus investment in the recovery, which is starting to pay off, either.

Larry Zaleski
Hagerstown

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|