PA-BGT: GOP Warn Wolf Over Veto

wolf-budget addressNegotiations over PA’s 2016-17 budget are off to a bumpy start.

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill to end seniority-based layoffs in the state’s public schools on Tuesday, though Republican legislators had urged him to reconsider.

GOP legislative leaders signaled their intent to tie House Bill 805 to the budget, with negotiations set to pick up pace now that the House and Senate are back in session.

“I don’t advocate for the status quo, but I can tell you this: If he does veto the bill – and we’re going to have a budget done very soon I hope – and the Governor is going to want more dollars for education, well guess what we’re going to want. We’re going to want this piece of legislation to go along with any new dollars in education,” Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman told reporters Tuesday.

GOP leaders intend to use the teacher furlough bill to emphasize improvements in the quality of public schooling in Pennsylvania, not just increases in funding.

“[Funding is] part of the discussion, but the discussion cannot just be about the quantity of the dollars provided,” House Majority Leader Dave Reed said. “We’ve also got to focus on the quality of the product produced with those dollars, and this bill moves us forward in that direction.”

The veto could be damaging to an already fragile working relationship between the Governor and the state legislature, but Wolf believes schools should use a different evaluation system.

“I am committed to greater accountability in our schools, but we should be working together to create a wide-ranging system that focuses on real, proven strategies to prepare our students and measure teacher effectiveness,” Wolf wrote to the House of Representatives. “

House Bill 805 calls for teacher layoffs to be based on performance measures, but the administration has said the state should not be focusing on “how to conduct mass layoffs.”

Under the bill, schools facing layoffs could fire teachers with failing grades first, regardless of seniority. Teachers who “need improvement” would be next to go, although seniority would still be used as a tiebreaker between employees with the same performance ratings.

“We shouldn’t be preserving the job of a low-performing teacher and furloughing a high-performing teacher merely because one has more seniority over the other,” Reed said. “It’s a pretty basic concept that I’m pretty sure almost every single parent across this state would agree with.”

7 Responses

  1. What is next, legislating what books can or cannot be used in public school districts? Why not abolish school boards?

  2. Where is the Teacher’s Union is this tenure bill by the GOP? Everyone of these GOP Lawmakers should have a thousand letters in their mail threatening to vote them out of office for supporting this tenure bill. Instead they hide in the shadows. Governor Wolf is correct that teaching to tests is wrong. Judging teachers on these test results is equally wrong. Another part of this bill will allow economic distressed school districts to lay off teachers. That is against the law now. So the GOP for underfunding schools more in the future would have class sizes double. There is no secret to this move by the GOP break the union, make more public schools fail, increase charter schools,and keep underfunding public schools. The big secret is where is the union. With elections coming now is the time to make your voices heard. Leaving it all on Governor Wolf to protect children is purely crap. Teachers stand up for yourselves and children now ! It is true you deserve the government you elect.

  3. Why not just get rid of tenure too? If you’re trying to make it easier to fire teachers who have worked their way up the ladder and command a higher salary so you can save a couple of bucks, don’t be sneaky about it. Pretty soon we can have all of our children taught by teachers fresh out of college with no mentors to guide them. It’ll save districts millions! Too bad no one will want to take the harder classes and work with the troubled children who, despite their best efforts, still often fall behind without adequate outside-the-classroom support because the state fails to adequately invest in their communities.

  4. GOP would be happier if all Union rules and contracts could be abolished. Then teachers could be punished and manipulated at the will of the principal and/or school board.

  5. I’m proposing we cut pay or better yet not pay lazy and politically calculating members of the state house and senate who act as roadblocks to getting a budget done.

    They should all co-sponsor and pass no budget no-pay. After that we’ll need to work on the gerrymandering.

Comments are closed.

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