Revealed June 06. 2020 06:35AM
COVID-19 was a devastating monetary blow to all. By no means let a disaster go to waste. Instantly, the Harrisburg “political” wheels started to show.
The ying: On March 12, the PSEA wrote a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf and Schooling Secretary Pedro Rivera relating to the monetary issues of their “faculty help employees” (subgroup) union members if faculties have been closed. On March 13, Wolf declared a state emergency and ordered all faculties in Pennsylvania shut down for 10 enterprise days as a result of fast unfold of this virus. That closure was first prolonged and faculties have been in the end ordered closed for the rest of the 2019-20 faculty yr.
On March 19, Home Schooling Committee Chairman Curt Sonney circulated a Co-Sponsorship Memorandum add a Home Modification onto SB 751 (outdated Senate Invoice going nowhere beforehand) with a particular provision within the PA Faculty Code beneath COVID-19 for the 2019-20 faculty yr “to deal with uncertainties” within the instructional group.
In lower than per week, and with out enter from any of the 500 native faculty boards, SB 751, as amended, was unanimously handed in each the Home and Senate on March 25. It was signed into regulation by Wolf on March 27 and renamed Act 13 of 2020.
Harrisburg legislators permitted persevering with full spending of native districts’ budgeted funds that might have been saved throughout this closure – with out requesting enter from the four,500 elected faculty board members relating to these routine native budgetary spending “selections.”
Amongst different administrative PDE mandate reliefs, this modification assured spending for: 1. Each public-school worker shall be paid his/her full annual salaries, 2. obtain full Employer Contributions (+34.5% of gross) throughout this faculty closure as if the Pandemic of 2020 by no means occurred, and three. proceed totally paying Bus Contractors, and so forth.
The yang: Shortly after Act 13 grew to become regulation, a number of taxpayer aid Home amendments have been launched to freeze native property taxes at present charges for the 2020-21 faculty yr. Schooling “leaders” opposed this effort. HB 1776 (Cox) and HB 2431 (Gleim and Cutler) each addressed this. They have been mentioned on the Home ground on April 24 however couldn’t get sufficient legislators to help this well timed and pressing minimal non permanent monetary aid for hurting taxpayers. Opposing Home members claimed this was a “taxation” situation and needs to be left for native faculty elected officers to deliberate/resolve.
Consider all the valuable state and native tax they’re losing. Pennsylvania Common Meeting and Wolf, collectively, are merely callous hypocrites. One other COVID-19 public training lesson realized.
Gerard E. Grega
Weatherly Faculty Board Member