It was reported by Sam Galski last week in the Standard Speaker that Fast Eddy Rendell was turned away on two occassions by the Hazleton Area School District when his office tried to arrange Rendell to speak at a Hazleton Area School.
Superintendent Sam Marolo and school board President Brian Earley insisted that the governor's visit is politically motivated and violates district policy pertaining to political activities on school property. Sounds like a reasonable assumption to me.
The word on the street is that eight out of nine Hazleton Area School Board members have signed a letter asking Rendell to come to Hazleton to speak.
You be the judge. Here is what PRN/USNewswire is reporting on Rendell's visits across the state.
Pennsylvania's next state budget must adequately invest in education in order to avoid local property tax increases, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today during a visit to the Fort Cherry School District in Washington County.
The Governor cautioned that a budget plan offered and approved by Senate Republicans would force school districts to hike property taxes and cut programs.
"I am not willing to accept their budget -- which is already $1.5 billion out of balance, as the economy has continued to slip -- because it is counter-productive to turning around our economy," Governor Rendell said. "In addition, a failure at the state level to fund essential programs and services simply shifts the tax burden to the local level."
He visited Adams and Cumberland County school districts with this message according to HEATHER FAULHEFER at the Evening Sun.
At the press briefing at Bermudian Springs High School, the governor defended his proposal to raise the state's personal income tax from 3.07 to 3.57 percent for three years, saying that the increase would, in part, provide funding for education and prevent local taxes from increasing.
Rendell has proposed an increase in education funding by $418 million, while the Republican-supported Senate Bill 850 would keep basic education funding the same as last year, providing $5.3 billion in basic education funding.
Rendell argued that Senate Bill 850 would hurt school districts like Bermudian Springs, which would receive $1 million less in the budget put forth by the Senate than in his budget.
Bermudian Springs School District Superintendent Paul Healey noted that the loss could not be absorbed by cutting pens and pencils - programs and people would be affected, he said.
"We need a state budget that does not pass the burden onto school boards to raise additional taxes," he said. "We need a state budget that recognizes that our most important resources are our children, and they do not deserve to be a pawn in a budget battle."
Local Republican legislators argue that, when combined with federal stimulus money, Senate Bill 850 does provide increases to school districts, just not as large an increase as the governor's proposal.
State Reps. Will Tallman, R-Reading Township, and Dan Moul, R-Conewago Township, attended Rendell's briefing and later said the governor was using scare tactics to gain approval of his tax increase.
Rendell is singling out the Republicans, not just the Senate as an institution that passed Senate Bill 850. If that isn't partisan and political nothing is.
Superintendent Paul Healey is another buffoon. Uhh Paul what difference does it make whether the state hikes taxes or the school district? Sounds like you want to make sure your school directors don't take the blame, let's blame state lawmakers. Why would you want to do that? Because your directors already raised taxes in June by 5.4%. What did you say Paul? That was the fourth consecutive hike in taxes. Mr. Healey what is your salary? $120,120.00. Ain't that a hoot. How many people in this state make $120,000 per year?
Brad Bumsted over at PittsburghLive calls Rendell's propaganda tour for what it is.
Rendell's propaganda campaign lays the groundwork for an income tax boost by pointing out all of the "devastating" consequences of spending less.