Reporting Steve Tawa
By Steve Tawa
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) - A report on public education in Montgomery County says while it has the best graduation rate in the region, the low-income population is growing, and there are challenges in classrooms because of meager state funding.
Executive Director of Public Citizen for Children Director Donna Cooper says her organization is on an “endless campaign to improve the equity and predictability of school funding,” she said. ”In Montgomery County we have nearly 16,000 kids who are in the school district who aren’t able to do reading and math at grade level.”
She says only about half of the children in the county have the option to attend full day kindergarten, and the number of children from low-income families increased more than 45-percent from 2008-2012.
Montgomery County Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro says Governor Corbett and the legislature in recent years chose to cut back on school funding, to increase the surplus in the Commonwealth.
“That is a choice that has had at a minimum a $34-million consequence for Montgomery County schools,” Shapiro said.
Cooper says the state is raising its expectations and standards on students at the same time it’s taking away resources.
“Either Montgomery County school districts will have to increase property taxes, or they can unify behind efforts to get the state to pick up its fair share.”
Shapiro believes a top priority in the upcoming race for governor should be nailing down at the state level a “predictable consistent school funding formula.”