Several local public school superintendents and social service leaders will describe the impact of state budget cuts to the community during a legislative public hearing hosted by state Reps. Jaret Gibbons and Robert F. Matzie.
The House Democratic Policy Committee hearing will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
“I’m deeply concerned that this budget that cut millions of dollars in state funding for local schools has shifted more of the burden to local homeowners,” Gibbons said. “Many of our schools have been forced to hike property taxes, close schools, cut teachers and cram more students into crowded classrooms.”
Gibbons, who represents Lawrence, Beaver, and Butler counties, and Matzie, who represents Beaver and Allegheny counties, are putting this meeting together to hear from the surrounding public.
“In the 2011-12 state budget, which I voted against, $862 million is cut from education statewide and $5.5 million is cut from education in my district alone,” Matzie said. “This policy hearing will give us the opportunity to hear first-hand how school districts and local taxpayers will be affected by those cuts.”
The nearly $1 billion public education cut in the state budget includes an $11.6 million cut for schools in Beaver County, $9.5 million in Butler County, $8.1 million in Lawrence County, and a massive $63 million cut in Allegheny County.
The following community leaders are scheduled to testify:
- Dr. Erv Weischedel, superintendent, Ambridge Area School District;
- David Wytiaz, superintendent, Aliquippa School District;
- Dr. Ron Sofo, superintendent, Freedom School District;
- Thomas Zelesnik, executive director, Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit;
- Lynn Foltz, Midwest/Region 2 director, PA School Boards Association;
- Tony Amadio, chairman, Beaver County Commissioners; and
- Bruce Simmeth, executive director, United Way.
“I look forward to hearing from several superintendents about how the cuts will affect students in the classroom and the consequences if the governor calls for another round of severe funding cuts next year,” said Gibbons.
The House Democratic Policy Committee hearing will be at the Conway Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 Banquet Hall, 900 Gross St., Conway.