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Letter to the editor: Pa. not keeping up in funding for schools

July 24, 2018

Schools underfunded

Your recent editorial was on point in focusing on the serious financial strains faced by school districts, which are too often leading to cuts in staff and increases in property taxes (“Financial pressure in school districts leads to tax hikes, staff cuts,” June 29, TribLIVE). The editorial’s diagnosis of the causes overlooked one central factor: the role that chronic underfunding by state government has in creating school budget shortfalls.

There was a time, decades ago, when Pennsylvania covered about half of the cost of public education. That’s now down to 37 percent, a lower share than all but three other states in the country. The state is simply not keeping up.

Your call for “a well-informed, engaged and passionate citizenry” to become more involved in local schools is, indeed, vital to their success. But communities shouldn’t have to organize bake sales to support basic school needs. Citizen advocacy should extend to making the case to lawmakers that the state needs to pay its fair share to head off further school cuts and property tax hikes.

Lisa Silverman

Mt. Lebanon

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