Pennsylvania School Board Members Denounce Mastriano’s Plan to Cut School Funding in Half

Doug Mastriano

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

By Brett Pransky

September 23, 2022

A bipartisan group of more than 70 school board members from across Pennsylvania has denounced Doug Mastriano’s plan to cut school funding in half, and then funnel much of that to charter schools, cyber-charters, and homeschooling.

Dozens of school board members from across the commonwealth are warning Pennsylvanians about what they see as Doug Mastriano’s plan to decimate public education should he be elected governor in November.

“[I]t has become clear to us that one of the candidates seeking the office of Governor of Pennsylvania not only disagrees with our goal of a strong public education system, he has publicly committed to destroying it.”

The quote above comes from an open letter signed by more than 70 school board members—Democrats and Republicans—from across Pennsylvania, each denouncing Mastriano’s stated plan to cut school funding in half, and then funnel much of that to charter schools, cyber-charters, and homeschooling.

Opponents of the Mastriano plan point to the political nature of the proposed cuts. It is no secret that public education, and teachers in particular, have been under near constant assault from well-funded right-wing groups, attacks resulting in a ridiculous number of book bans, and also various dishonest claims about everything from “critical race theory” to nonsensical accounts of teachers “grooming” students.

And now, with the election looming, these coordinated attacks seem to be revealing a larger goal—to simply defund public education in Pennsylvania, and across the United States.

Should Mastriano succeed in defunding public schools, it will serve as a massive political win, since it will allow him to destroy teachers’ unions, and also at the same time further enrich some of his biggest donors by sending public dollars to for-profit charter schools, despite a litany of charter school failures from across the country.

Mastriano recently addressed his stance at a campaign event in Delaware County:

“The fact is, you know, we just passed legislation out of the Senate and the House, and I voted ‘yes’ on increasing education funding by $850 million,” Mastriano told the crowd in Aston.

“Are you kidding me? And I’m going to cut education? I mean, facts are stubborn things. So really, just shut up.”

For those paying attention, this is what being on both sides of the issue at the same time looks like. Mastriano has clearly proposed massive cuts that would essentially end public education in Pennsylvania, and he has also voted for an increase in funding at the same time.

This leaves Pennsylvania voters with an impossible choice: Do they believe Mastriano when he says he’s for public education, or do they believe him when he says he’ll gut it?

Or should everyone just shut up and let Doug Mastriano do whatever he pleases?


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