Lehigh Valley

Democrats accuse Corbett of cutting $1 billion from education

Democrats accuse Corbett of cutting $1 billion from education

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Some local democratic leaders are calling out Governor Corbett over what they allege are big cuts to education funding.

Katie McGinty, chairwoman of the Campaign for a Fresh Start, along with Representative Mike Schlossberg and Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller, gathered in front of Muhlenberg Elementary school Wednesday afternoon to discuss their opposition to Governor Corbett's handling of the state's education budget.

"Here's the bottom line on education, Tom Corbett cut a billion dollars from our public schools. Our children and property owners are suffering because of that action," said McGinty.

"We've lost over 400 teachers, we've lost 20 percent of the teaching compliment of the Allentown School District. And at the same time, property taxes have risen 20 percent in a desperate attempt to make up for the funding short falls that the governor has wrought upon us," said Schlossberg.

However, according to Bill Heydt, chairman of the Lehigh County Republican Committee the federal government is to blame for the billion dollar shortfall, not the governor.

"We have given more to education than before. The only decrease is the federal contribution has decreased by over a billion dollars," said Heydt.

Heydt and other republicans argue the billion dollars were part of the federal stimulus plan passed by President Obama in 2008.

But the dollars from the stimulus ended in 2011, leaving a gap in Pennsylvania's pocket.

"The charts and the numbers are official. We've increased it for three years straight. The only thing missing is the contribution from Obama," said Heydt.

Regardless, democratic local leaders say Corbett hasn't done enough to ensure that Pennsylvania will have an educated work force in the future.

"We need an educated work force to help us grow in the new 21st century. This is why we need new leadership and a fresh start to invest in our children and the future or our commonwealth," said Muller.

According to the department of education's website, the state budget for public schools has increased over the past four years.

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