Going face-to-face with Gov. Corbett

I had a chance to join a group of editors for a sit-down with Gov. Tom Corbett yesterday.

I had solicited questions from readers – in particular those in the Upper Darby School District – who are irate about some drastic cuts in the district.

In Upper Darby they are proposing raising taxes, slashing teachers, and axing special classes in art and music for elementary children.

A lot of people are blaming Gov. Corbett and his austere budget for all these problems.

Here’s the good news for Upper Darby parents who are steamed at these developments.

Corbett has heard you. He understands your concern. He really does not want school district to make these kinds of cuts.

Now the bad news. Corbett is not changing his mind when it comes to the budget.

Basically he said, as our front page declares today, that the “Buck Stops Here.”

He admitted that his budget put local administrators in a tight spot, but said they needed to make the tough calls at the local level. In Upper Darby, that means about 50 fewer teachers, no special classes in art and music at the elementary level, and no language and tech classes in the middle schools.

You can read the stories here, and here.

We’ve also editorialized on the predicament Corbett finds himself in, a Republican governor whose party controls both the state House and Senate, yet seems to be making no one happy, including some in his own party. You can read that one here.

I specifically asked the governor something that many of the parents in Upper Darby have asked for – a meeting with Corbett. I even went so far as to point out that he doesn’t have to come to Upper Darby. The parents are going to him. They’re taking a caravan of buses to Harrisburg next Wednesday to protest the budget cuts. Corbett checked his calendar, then said he would be “in and out” on Wednesday.

I get the feeling the parents will make their presence known.

The rally in Harrisburg comes one day after another public hearing Tuesday night on the Upper Darby budget, which is sure to draw another packed house.

Then on Thursday we will be presenting another panel of parents on a special Thursday night edition of ‘Live From the Newsroom.’ Should be interesting as the parents have made clear they did not particularly care for Gil Spencer’s latest column belittling their fate. You can read that one – and their comments – here.

Stay tuned!


Anonymous said…
Well, the voters in the Upper Darby School district can feel free to go to the polls in November and elect some members of the PA Legislature who'd like to fund education in a more equitable manner across the whole commonwealth. The existing PA Senate and PA House lines favor Democratic Party pickups; or else the Republicans wouldn't have pushed such a radically different map in their redistricting process. I challenge every person who is up in arms over these cuts in Upper Darby to get out and vote in November. This legislative and budget environment for schools didn't fall from the sky.