Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Education secretary, Sen. Casey do the Daily Times

We're on something of a roll when it comes to public officials paying us a visit here in the home office in beautiful downtown Primos.

Yesterday it was Pennsylvania Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.

This morning U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey will stop by.

Dumaresq was actually in town to deliver some accolades to a couple of Springfield School District schools. E.T. Richardson Middle School and the Springfield Literacy Center both received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Academics for their performance on the state's School Performance Profile.

Of course, I took advantage of Dumaresq's visit to quiz her on the topic so near and dear to the hears of Delco home owners. That, of course, would be property taxes.

We've deemed the issue so important we've made it the focus of a year-long editorial project we're calling The Keystones: Property Taxes and Education Funding.

Dumaresq put up a spirited defense of the Corbett Administration's belief that they have been unfairly criticized for education funding, insisting that many of the recent problems have been the result of school district's dependency on federal stimulus dollars. She emphasized that districts were warned that those federal dollars were not permanent, yet they spent them on recurring projects and were left in a fiscal bind when those funds expired.v Dumaresq is no stranger to Delco. She's served in both the Interboro and Upper Darby School Districts.

She might be one of the few people to see the education riddle from both sides, having also served as the head of the teachers' union, the powerful Pennsylvania State Education Association.

Dumaresq believes the biggest threat to education in Pennsylvania is not property taxes, but rather the pension crisis that her boss has referred to as the "tapeworm" in the state budget process.

She believes that if not addressed, the pension crisis will eat up funds that otherwise could be directed to education. Sen. Casey will be here this morning at 11.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask him?

The last time he was here the senator made big news by changing his position on gun background checks in the days following the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy.

If there is something you'd like to put to the senator, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

We will try to live-stream our session with the senator. Tune in to DelcoTimes.com at 11 to see what he has to say.

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