LETTER: Harrisburg’s a mini-D.C.

Gov. Tom Wolf, center, delivers his budget address for the 2016-17 fiscal year to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House and Senate, as the speaker of the state House of Representatives, state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, left, and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, right, listen at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Chris Knight)

The reality of Harrisburg becoming a mini-D.C. is complete. We provide our hard earned money to the state and for reasons unknown to me, Governor Wolf has decided to pick winners and losers. As a School Board Member in Red Lion Area School District it is evident we are one of the many stuck in the loser column. The Governor has forced Red Lion to make decisions that are completely unnecessary.

We moved as a board this past Thursday that we will forego our next payments to Charter and Cyber schools as we have not received our expected allocations. These allocations are state funds that are withheld as long as the Governor’s line-item veto on education for the 2015-2016 year continues.

Red Lion Schools currently hopes to have enough funds to get through the school year. This is of course barring an unexpected cost in which we would usually depend on our reserves. Why is it that instead of Red Lion finding ways to optimize dollars, we are finding ways to keep our doors open due to inept leadership in Harrisburg?

Red Lion is not alone in this endeavor. Other schools around the Commonwealth are in much worse financial positions than we are. Someone will FAIL.

Why does it take a school’s failure for our elected officials to act? Why is it that a school district like Red Lion who has tightened its belt and not raised taxes 3 years in a row now has to choose if we buy computers or books for our young ones or pay the electric bill?

We must remember that our children do not get a second chance to experience 2nd, 7th or 10th grade. This bitter dispute happening in our state’s capital must end. Pass a budget with the same levels of funding for 2015-2016 that we had in the previous year. Give the schools and their boards throughout the Commonwealth the ability to govern. Do not force us to make the decision whether we keep the doors open and lights on for our children. That is all we ask.


Red Lion