One thing everyone agreed on at Thursday’s night’s Patriot-News forum on education in Camp Hill is whatever public education looks like 10 years from now, it’ll be different from what it is today.
With increasing pressure on tax-paying property owners, a looming pension crisis, calls for more choice, more funding and more accountability, the landscape of public education in Pennsylvania is changing.
As Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis told the audience of about 120 people, that landscape is already incredibly diverse, with Pennsylvania’s more than 8 million K-12 students attending some of the largest and smallest schools in the nation, some of the best and some of the worst, urban and rural, rich and poor.
“We have districts hitting it out of the ballpark academically and spending less than districts that aren’t,” said Tomalis. But the degree to which education is directed from the local level also “makes it more difficult to move the system in one big pack,” he said.
Tomalis said 75 to 80 percent of education costs are labor costs at the local level. “I don’t know if we want to go to a state contract model and take away that local control, but do know need a new model.”
In addition to Tomalis, Thursday night’s panel included Dr. Mark Leidy, superintendent of Mechanicsburg Area School District, Nancy Hall, founder of Infinity Charter School in Penbrook, and Jan Murphy, the Capital Bureau Chief for the Patriot-News.
Click here to read the full article by Donald Gilliland, published in the Patriot News (September 13, 2012)