March 4, 2015

Gov. Wolf recognizes furloughed educator during budget address

Katybeth KlingerGov. Tom Wolf's proposed state budget includes a $500 million increase for basic education and special education – an increase that would allow school districts to restore programs, lower class sizes, and begin to rehire the educators furloughed in the wake of 2011's devastating funding cuts – educators like Katy Beth Klinger.

Gov. Wolf recognized Klinger during his March 3 state budget address as one of many furloughed educators who will have more opportunities to regain full-time employment under his plan to increase school funding.

Klinger was a first-year English teacher for the Reading School District in 2011 when she lost her job as part of mass furloughs that followed nearly $1 billion in cuts to public schools. Three years later, Klinger has not yet regained a permanent teaching position.

"Katy just wants to teach and help the students who she saw making real progress before the education cuts. She has stuck with it, though. Katy has been a substitute at the Reading School District. When people ask her why she doesn't change careers or seek a position in another school district, she says she can make a bigger difference in the city of Reading with the children who need help the most. Katy is a single mother and the stress of not knowing whether she can count on a stable income from year to year has been weighing on her. We need more teachers like Katy in our schools."

Klinger and her daughter traveled to Harrisburg to attend Gov. Wolf's budget address and show their support for the governor's proposal to help to solve the state's school funding crisis and put educators like her back into full-time teaching positions.

"It was such a huge honor to be part of the governor's budget address, not just for myself – but for anyone who's experienced the loss of a job because of budget cuts," Klinger said. It's something that you never really get over. I love working with the students in Reading School District. I loved my job as an English teacher, and I finally felt like I found my calling. To have that ripped away from me was dreadful."

Klinger currently serves as a long-term substitute in Reading teaching middle school gifted education. She hopes that Gov. Wolf's proposal to restore funding to public schools becomes reality, and she can continue her career as an educator. 


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