Year after year, Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in state investment in education. It's essential that we turn this around. While legislators pledge not to raise your taxes, they make funding decisions that inevitably lead to local property tax increases. They're hoping you won't figure this out.
Education is an investment. Better schools lead to economic growth. But any investment must be made carefully. I support early childhood education programs that have been proven to give students a boost throughout their school years. I support accurate metrics to measure student achievement. Schools should have some freedom to experiment with new educational approaches. Innovation should be monitored -- successful programs should be replicated and unsuccessful programs should be discontinued. And public money should be spent on public schools.
As the parent of two disabled children, I understand the challenges parents of special needs students face. Historically, Pennsylvanians resisted innovation in special education. Today, it is vital that Harrisburg guarantee the right of every school student in Pennsylvania to an education, regardless of disability. Special education placements should be, to the greatest extent possible, in local schools and inclusive classrooms, rather than in expensive, segregated placements. This benefits all students, disabled and non-disabled alike.
Special education funding
In the 146th district, I've proudly been a part of the fight to improve special education services in Spring-Ford School District. Today, Spring-Ford is known for providing quality special education. But Pennsylvania's special education funding formula is fundamentally flawed, and spending has failed to keep pace with costs. Currently, the state awards a flat rate for special education to every district across the state, which punishes districts that have an above-average number of special need students. Pressure has grown on school districts to do more with less, and that pressure sometimes means property tax increases.Pennsylvania's special education funding formula must be reformed, and I will fight for a fair formula that accommodates the differing needs ofPennsylvania's 500 school districts.