PSEA president demands that Doug Mastriano release details of his plan to cut public school funding

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PSEA president demands that Doug Mastriano release details of his plan to cut public school funding

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (July 19, 2022) — Gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has proposed cutting Pennsylvania public school funding by as much as $10,000 per student but has provided no detail on what such a plan would look like or what it would mean for the state’s 1.7 million students.

PSEA President Rich Askey today called on Mastriano to be absolutely clear about his proposal so that Pennsylvanians can understand the extent of the damage that kind of funding cut will do to the education of Pennsylvania’s public school students.

“Cutting public school funding by as much as $10,000 per student would absolutely devastate Pennsylvania’s public schools,” Askey said. “Doug Mastriano’s plan is completely irresponsible, a violation of state government’s constitutional duty to fund public education, and an insult to the 1.7 million students who learn in public schools.”

During a March 2022 radio interview on WRTA in Altoona, Mastriano said: “I think instead of $19,000, we fund each student around $9,000 or $10,000 and they can decide which school to go to: public school, private school, religious school, cyber school, or home school.” (School funding per pupil in 2019-20 amounted to just over $19,000, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.)

“Doug Mastriano needs to provide the public with details about how his plan to cut public school funding by up to $10,000 per student would work,” Askey said. “Parents deserve to know how it will impact their children’s public schools, including how many teachers will have to be laid off, how class sizes will increase, and what education programs will be lost to students.”

Even without the details, it is clear that a per pupil spending cut that large would decimate school district budgets, hobbling their operations and leaving them without enough resources to pay staff, purchase supplies, transport students, or pay their utility bills and other obligations.

“It’s hard to even imagine what cutting public school funding by that much would look like. It’s almost inconceivable,” Askey said. “What do our schools look like with a fraction of the teachers, school counselors, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, and aides? Doug Mastriano is the only one who knows how his plan will work. He needs to provide the details.

“How we fund public schools in Pennsylvania is one of the most important functions of state government. Doug Mastriano’s dismissive notion that we can cut school funding by as much as $10,000 per student is just the latest evidence that he is unfit to lead and simply doesn’t care how his extreme ideas will impact real Pennsylvanians and real children.”

Askey is the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.