A recent letter to the editor questioned the need for adequate school funding in Philadelphia and recycled anti-worker talking points (“Philadelphia Schools,” Aug. 11).
The root of the problem in Philadelphia is the same as the main cause of school property tax hikes in Allegheny County: Gov. Tom Corbett’s roughly $3 billion in K-12 education cuts over four years. To make matters worse, those cuts have had a higher percentage impact in lower-income school districts.
Philadelphia teachers have already made concessions and done their part. The city of Philadelphia has also done its part by significantly increasing local funding for the schools in recent years.
The current controversy does not even center around state funding — Philadelphians are simply seeking the authority to tax ourselves. The question is whether the state will allow Philadelphia to raise more local revenue through an increase in the cigarette tax in our one county only, to plug an $81 million hole in an already inadequate school budget. Allowing this local self-help is the very least the state can do.
STATE REP. JAMES ROEBUCK
The writer, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, represents the 188th Legislative District