3 State Reps Back Changes In Law On School Board Budgets

dollarsMontgomery County State Representative Bob Godshall says lawmakers did the right thing when they eliminated most exceptions to a law requiring school boards to get voter approval on budgets that raise taxes by more than the inflation rate. He says some school board decisions are not in the best interest of taxpayers.

“Their decisions that they make on giving teachers or administrators a tremendous increase.  In fact administrators are paid more, even in the small districts, than the governor of Pennsylvania.   Those people leave after four years and there’s nothing you can do, so I think it’s a good thing.”

If school boards can prove a higher tax hike is needed, he says the voters will go along with it.  State Representative Todd Stephens, whose district is also in Montgomery County, says he agrees.

“The fact that the voters get the final say on that type of an expenditure I think is absolutely wonderful, and it’s going to force our school boards to educate the community, and in the end the voters are going to have the final say on those increases above the index.”

That’s the Consumer Price Index, commonly referred to as the cost of living.  Bucks County State Representative and former teacher Kathy Watson says having good teachers is the most important part of education, and school boards need to take a closer look at how they spend money on other things.

“We get into some of this other stuff and I say, ‘We don’t need that.  This is ridiculous.’  I mean the size of the building and, with all due respect, I’m sure there’s going to be somebody who won’t like it, the athletes, but do we really need $800,000 because we have to re-do all the fields because my fields have to match this one and that one, and I say, ‘Oh, give it up.’”

Watson says they should also look at larger class sizes in some cases.  She and Stephens and Godshall all appeared Wednesday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.

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