Letter: Simmons Denies Truth About Education Funding Cuts
Mark Spengler criticizes state Rep. Justin Simmons (R-131) in the following letter to the editor.
To the Editor:
In 2011 Governor Tom Corbett and the Republicans enacted massive cuts to public education. According to the incumbent representative from the 131st district, it is all just a lie. Justin Simmons has repeatedly claimed that he and his party actually increased education spending while the one-time federal stimulus money simply ran out. A simple review of the facts shows otherwise.
Two significant examples of state education dollars being eliminated were the $259 million block grant ($100 million was eventually restored) and the total elimination of the 30 percent charter school reimbursement. Other programs that were axed included duel enrollment, tutoring assistance and the distinguished educator program. It should also be understood that not replacing the stimulus dollars that went toward education was a choice. According to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, the GOP chose to replace the federal stimulus money in the corrections budget. Apparently prisons were given priority over education.
Citizens last year were understandably concerned about the effects of the education cuts and on March 8 a community forum was held at Lehigh County Community College. Unlike some of the other area lawmakers, Justin Simmons did not attend. However, Simmons did make himself available to speak at a Feb. 21 school choice event in Emmaus where he once again denied that his party had cut education. It will be up to the voters in November to decide if they would like to hold Mr. Simmons accountable.
Lower Macungie Township