Corbett Budget Cuts Target Pennsylvania Schools

LIMERICK Twp., Pa.(CBS) — Along the 422 corridor in Philadelphia’s western suburbs, farmland has been sprouting with new homes, shopping centers and pharmaceutical hubs for over a decade. So money has not really been a problem in most of the local school districts, until now.

“We have never seen anything like this in my experience in this district,” said Dr. Marsha Hurda, superintendent in the Spring-Ford Area School District, which covers Limerick and Upper Providence Townships and the Boroughs of Royersford and Spring City. “If you’ve never had any experience dealing with it, you don’t have anything to go back to.”

As the real estate market has dropped, a number of big commercial properties in this district, including the sprawling GlaxoSmithKline campus in Collegeville, have asked for new, lower tax assessments. That has led to a budget deficit that stood at $10 million dollars on Tuesday morning in a budget of about $130 million. It’s a sizeable sum, but it could get even worse.

“By the end of the day I may have a $12-14 million deficit, and I have no control over it. None at all,” Dr. Hurda told Eyewitness News.

In the budget he unveiled Tuesday morning, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has proposed cutting state aid to local school districts by $550 million next year. That’s roughly a 10 percent cut across the board, which could translate into the loss of $2 million more for Spring-Ford. Districts everywhere across the Pennsylvania suburbs are facing a similar problem. Governor Corbett says the cuts are needed because the state simply doesn’t have the money.

Governor Corbett says Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts can save $400 million next year if all public school employees agree to pay freezes.

Dr. Hurda says Gov. Corbett’s state budget may not include any new taxes, but there will likely be tax increases at the local level. That’s one of the options on the table at Spring-Ford, which is also considering program cuts and possibly a charge for athletics and other extra-curricular activities.

“You’re reassessing every function of a school district,” Dr. Hurda said. “How do we do business? What was the old norm, and what’s the new norm? You have to balance the needs of your students with the ability of your community to pay.”

And the governor’s education cuts could extend beyond the 12th grade. He’s also proposed dropping $625 million from higher education support. That amounts to a 50 percent cut for the 14 state-owned universities and the four state-related schools (Penn State, Temple, Pitt and Lincoln University).

At Temple, it could mean a loss of $80-90 million next year. A spokesman said it’s too soon to tell if that will mean a tuition increase, but Temple President Ann Weaver Hart is already imploring students to lobby against the cuts.

“I am asking each and every one of you to take action and play a vital role in communicating with our elected officials about the importance of commonwealth support for Temple University and higher education,” she said.

Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3

Top Content On CBSPhilly


One Comment

  1. Hhhhhh says:

    It’s funny how hurda didn’t mention that she goe got a raise and is planning to resurface tennis courts at the expense of 55 jobs

  2. Tracey Helsel Stolz says:

    Some school teacher do not deserve what salary they receive now….so many kids now today do not speak properly, can not count, and do not even ask about our history. Most of the citizens in Pennsylvania live off of less than 40,000 a year and without benefits. I raised two children as a single parent on that and by the way, I worked weekends, all hours, and during the entire summer, and holidays. When my 401k looses money, I am out. When teachers 401k looses money, tax payers are required to make it up……give me a break! You are suppose to be there to give our young children a fighting chance at an education, so quit whining about money….also in regards to pay cuts, everyone complains about higher taxes, higher prices on the goods we buy, but the first time someone tries to cut so that we start to live within a budget, everyone cries “foul”….

  3. Anne M. says:

    I agree with Angry Teacher… this ignorant, incompetent governor probably knows nothing of what it takes teachers to keep their certifications to be able to serve students in our state. Maybe he should actually do his research or take a cut out of his own salary.

  4. keepgoin says:

    Is this the results of what the voters elected the Governor into office to do? Cut education. No taxes on the corporate structure?

  5. Angry Teacher says:

    I’m a teacher and the last time I checked I was not making big money! Teachers must continue to take graduate credits to keep their certificates & we work hard for what we get paid. We also have families to raise. Why have teachers become the scapegoat for the Bush economy? Why was Corbett elected in the first place? People want an education for their children….but they want it for free. Teachers are not the problem. We pay athletes and actors and musicians and even no talent reality stars billions of dollars a year. The priorities of the US are out of whack and TEACHERS are not the problem. Perhaps the VOTERS need an education so we do not wind up with leaders who think cutting education is the solution to our nation’s ills! I could make 3X as much doing what I do if I worked in technology in the private sector….but I would rather educate students and make a difference. This country will chase all dedicated teachers away from the profession and our country will become a third rate version of what it once was. Other countries value education and respect teachers and they are about to take our place as the leader in worldwide innovation. Wake up people…soccer club and football practice do not make our society! Our children our our future! Do not let petty politics cloud what is really important to the future of our children! Demand a different way of funding schoold other than PROPERTY TAX from our leaders….but don’t take it out on our teachers!

    1. Kathy Smith says:

      II agree…I am a teacher too…I can assure any one that I do not make big money!!!! Just because we have two onths off in the summer does not mean we are rich!!!! I am driving a 7 year old car, need a new roof….I work hours after I leave my classroom. Why is it that teachers are the blame?????? Who made the problem???? Teachers????? really??? Look at all the billions of dollars that go to actors and musicians and reality stars with no talent….Priorities of the US are out of sight….. then teachers are th blame. Teachers should be supported not downed. What is wrong with people that they blame the people who have nothing to do with the problem. I went to school to become a teacher not to make a lot of money but to do what I enjoy and teach our children……Petty politics that take from teachers and give their cabinets a raise…what is with that???????

  6. John says:

    I work in a school district in Delaware County Pa. and the people who always take the hits in a tight budget are the Maintenance ,Custodial & Office workers. when are the Administrators, and teachers who make large salary’s going to take a hit.

  7. Christopher Pestacchi says:

    Apparently spending money on education is a waste, but let’s throw $45 MILLION in taxpayer money at a failing shipbuilding company.

  8. 9circlesofhell says:

    Democracy is dead in America and the state of PA is just another carcass along the side of the road … Long Live King Corbett

  9. george says:

    Dear Gov. I have already written to you at you website… someone said a representative would contact me… no, no…. you know why… i am the guy who keeps asking the very same question… when are you going to live up to your promise to get rid of the state stores…. YOU PROMISED!!!!!

    1. Christopher Pestacchi says:

      Do you thing that the answer to keeping the commonwealth fiscally sound is to get rid of the one government institution that MAKES money?

  10. Howard says:

    I think education is important but it is time to change the way the school districts operate. You cannot keep raising taxes when you have budget gaps something else needs to be done. It is no longer business as usual. I have not gotten a raise in 3 years and am forced to make tough decisions on spending as a result of my local and school taxes going up. You cannot get blood from a stone so something needs to fundamentally change.

  11. Ben Franklin says:

    Your Welcome….
    We need to cut more

  12. HatTrick says:

    Typical politician. Education is one of the major building blocks for the future of this state and the nation, but let’s cut that.

    How about we take a hard look at all of the politicians in Harrisburg? Let’s start cutting unneeded bodyguards, police escorts, private jets and trips on the taxpayers’ dime? Let’s cut out the pork to keep our friends happy and stick to what’s really needed in this state!

    But, no – as long and my friends and I get our share of the pie, to hell with the people of the Commonwealth!

  13. msce2 says:

    Big thanks to those who elected Corbett. Already passing the buck. So he’s not going to raise taxes but he’s going to make every local government raise taxes. Great idea!

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Philly

Getaway Do’s And Don’ts For Hurricane Season
Five Small Midwestern Towns To Visit Now

Watch & Listen LIVE