There have been not-so-subtle hints from Harrisburg that the upcoming 2012-13 state budget will be just as painful for certain sectors of public services as the current spending plan.
On Tuesday, a bit more disconcerting data crept out of the capitol compound: The state is running almost a half-a-billion dollars behind projections in tax revenue through December.
When Gov. Corbett took office a year ago he vowed no new taxes, no tax increases, no way, no how, except that there was a way. Corbett, with his legislature in tow, significantly reduced funding for education, passing along to individual school districts (including the one here in Warren County) the task of figuring out how to balance the books.
Like many others, the Warren County School District made some difficult cuts, reductions we believe over time will result in at least some degradation to the local educational program. Rather than providing leadership to improve education, the state administration's answer was a nebulous proposal to simply punt the issue to charter schools and private schools through vouchers. In essence, the administration was saying, "we give up, you handle it."
At this early juncture, let us implore the governor and the General Assembly, to consider only as an absolute last resort further gutting of the public education system in the state if new draconian cuts to services are in the offing.
There comes a tipping point in the role of government with regard to public services. Governments can, indeed, reduce spending with a simple pen stroke through line items, but there comes a point when continued reductions have significant long-term ramifications.
We have a solid belief that education is the best investment any government can make for the future prosperity and well-being of its constituents.
School districts are still reeling from last year's cuts.
Please, don't deepen the wound.