Educators Gather at State University Against Mastriano Education Plan

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The Pennsylvania State Education Association hosted an event Friday with local educators in opposition to Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano’s “extreme” education budget cuts.

Educators in Mifflin County and the State College Area School District opposed Mastriano and the Education Fund proposal, which many fear would have a devastating effect on public schools. The event was one of his 10 held statewide by PSEA, and in March he said in an interview with WRTA Radio that Mastriano is funding the school for every student he pays. We said we would cut $10,000.

If that plan comes to fruition, the PSEA says it will see devastating cuts in public school districts statewide. SCASD alone could see him cut $72.5 million in funding, cut more than 600 staff, and dramatically increase class sizes, PSEA warns.

SCASD Board Chairman Amber Concepcion said budget cuts must pass legislation, but Mastriano’s comments show a lack of understanding around education funding.

“These are really public schools for families and centers of the community,” Concepcion said. “I don’t think he understands how much it costs to run a school because a school can’t run without people. and their salaries, because this is a people-centric business.”

PSEA has created an interactive online map to see how the proposed funding cuts will affect each district.

SCASD board member Peter Buck also condemned the potential budget cuts.

“We need children in the workforce of the future who will be able to think and act on issues based on information,” Buck said. “And cutting budgets makes it harder for everyone to tackle these issues in a realistic way.”

State College Area Board of Education member Peter Beck met with members of the Pennsylvania Education Association on Friday to voice concerns about cuts in education funding proposed by governor candidate Doug Mastriano.Abbie Dray

SCASD teacher and president of the State College Area Education Association, Shai McGowan, described the potential loss of funding as “heartbreaking.”

“The results are mind-boggling,” said McGowan. “As a Pennsylvania educator, I never had to think something so bad.”

PSEA members aren’t the only educators speaking out against Mastriano. Recently, directors of his 84 school boards across Pennsylvania, along with Buck and his SCASD board member Jackie Huff, signed a letter condemning Mastriano’s proposed cut.

Mastriano’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Shai McGowan, a State College area teacher, met with members of the Pennsylvania State Education Association on Friday to voice concerns about possible cuts in education funding from governor candidate Doug Mastriano.Abbie Dray

This story was originally published 6:00 AM on September 17, 2022.

Keeley Dole is an educational and service journalist for The Center Daily Times. She previously worked for Columbia Missourian and Independent UK.