On Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano plans to significantly cut public school funding. In February, Mastriano released an op-ed detailing his plan to eliminate the local property tax, which is the main source of school funding.
Mastriano’s plan would result in a $10,000 decrease in funding per pupil, affecting about 2 million children, their teachers, and other school officials. Mastriano has no plan to replace that funding, and is also seeking to divert any remaining funds to be used for vouchers for nonpublic schools. This would put Pennsylvania, already last in the country in state funding for public schools, on a crash course toward the destruction of public schooling.
During his run for governor, Mastriano has been repeatedly criticized by Pennsylvania voters for his extremist views, highlighted by his role in the planned January 6th insurrection and his support of the Big Lie. Back in March, Mastriano admitted to spending campaign cash on bus travel and supplies for the January 6 insurrection. In May, Mastriano pledged that he would appoint a Secretary of State who would rig elections.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: Why is no one talking about Doug Mastriano’s plan to destroy public education in Pa.?
By Will Bunch | June 12, 2022
- “The driver of Mastriano’s scheme would be his push to eliminate, or at least radically reduce, the biggest source of school dollars in Pennsylvania: the property tax. He just wouldn’t replace this proposed massive loss of tax dollars. And the downsized government spending that still existed would be available to families in vouchers they could use to attend nonpublic schools, including religious schools or homeschooling — two pillars of Mastriano’s Christian nationalist movement.”
- “‘School choice is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. And my goal on taking on school choice, of course, we’ll have a fight with the unions, but that’s a fight we have to have because the lack of school choice and $30 billion a year going to public education is driving up property taxes,’ Mastriano said last month on the Wendy Bell radio show.”
- “Donna Cooper, executive director of the Children First schools advocacy group, says Mastriano’s plans are wildly out of touch with the realities of K-12 education in the state, including that even religious schools in the state’s more prosperous regions cost more than the $9,000 a year he’d give families. Added Cooper: ‘One of the reasons he’s advancing these proposals is his concern that teachers are paid too much. But we have an average teacher salary that is $70,000 — and Pennsylvania is facing a massive teacher shortage.’”
- “The advocate Spicka, who like Mastriano hails from Franklin County in south-central Pennsylvania, said it would be impossible to end property taxes and achieve Mastriano’s school spending goal without large-scale layoffs of teachers and staff, in districts where parents are already aggravated at how many costs are being met through things like PTO bake sales. ‘There would be no insulation,’ she said.”
Read the full report here.