Jun. 24, 2024

Legislative Update
The latest news from the State Capitol
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Ryncavage, Policy Committee Host Hearing on Education Funding

Click here to view video.

It's simple: If we're going to address Basic Education Funding for the next seven years, then we should do it right the first time.

Last week, I brought the House Republican Policy Committee to the Crestwood School District to discuss how House Bill 2370 funds a system, not its students. Our panel shared their concerns about increased property taxes and the potential cutting of vital programs like art, music and library due to disproportionate funding.

The hearing featured testifiers John Macri, president, and Rick Nardone, finance director, Crestwood School Board; and parent Danielle Petroski. Each expressed concern that the proposed funding would negatively affect the Crestwood School District. While Crestwood has one of the lowest administrative costs-per-student ratios in the state and is in the top third of highest-preforming school districts, the testifiers fear residents will be subject to increased property taxes and program cuts as funding is disproportionately spread among school districts.

Under this proposal, the Crestwood School District actually loses funding due to the level they tax their residents. The formula used in the Democrats’ Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) report to calculate funding distributes more dollars to districts that have raised taxes each year and subtracts additional aid to districts that chose not to raise taxes. I find this tactic unacceptable.

This bill gives tens of millions of dollars to districts like Wilkes-Barre Area School District and Hazleton Area School District and gives only $600,000 to Crestwood, which experienced a $2.7 million budget deficit just last year. Prior to this hearing, only one side of the narrative was shared about the basic education funding bill currently being debated in Harrisburg. Some of Crestwood’s own teachers have lobbied in support of this bill, contradictory of its massive penalty.

How could $600,000 in additional funding cover the deficit from last year, let alone the deficit of this year? Costs continue to go up and inflation is on the rise. Do these special interest groups realize you cannot hire 28 furloughed teachers and support three programs on $600,000? This behavior from special interest groups illustrates how far the “winners” of this proposal will go to get their way, highlighting a focus on the system and NOT the student.

If we’re going to address comprehensive school funding, there should be no losers. I look forward to returning to Harrisburg to keep this important discussion on the front burner.

You can watch my closing statement by clicking here. 

You can watch the full hearing by clicking here. 

PA House GOP Leader Questions Use of Taxpayer-Funded Resources for Biden-Harris Events

Click here to read the full letter.
The House Republican leader is questioning the use of taxpayer resources to stage two recent Biden-Harris campaign events in the Pennsylvania Capitol Complex.

In a letter to General Services Secretary Reggie McNeil, Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster County, wrote the use of official resources for campaign purposes is unethical and a violation of state and departmental policy.

“As I am sure you are aware, the Department of General Services has limited the ability to hold political and campaign events with the use of DGS facilities and/or employees,” he wrote in the letter.
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