PSEA President responds to Governor's call for a one-year pay freeze
PSEA President Jim Testerman released a March 16 statement responding to Gov. Tom Corbett's call for school employees to consider a one-year pay freeze.
Testerman released the following statement:
"The education professionals in the Pennsylvania State Education Association have been willing to be good public partners and tackle tough issues before, and we’re willing to do it again.
"We hope to prevent a $1 billion cut in state education funding, but we also realize that tough economic times have hit many of our public school districts.
"We have serious concerns about some of Gov. Corbett's proposals, but we want to do our part to ensure that our students' education does not suffer as a result of the worst recession since the Depression.
"As part of his budget proposal, the governor requested that education employees accept a one-year pay freeze. The governor stated that this decision is 'determined at a local level and arrived at by contract and collective bargaining.' As president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, I concur.
"I encourage PSEA members to seriously consider this request.
"Today, I sent a letter to the presidents of all PSEA locals. I encouraged them to enter into discussions with their school boards about a pay freeze or other cost-saving measures to maintain class sizes and academic programs. In some communities our members have recently agreed to economic concessions to maintain class sizes and academic programs. Their contribution must also be recognized.
"Such cooperation can help to preserve the academic gains made in Pennsylvania’s public schools over the last decade.
"Our scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress, the 'Nation's Report Card,' are among the country’s best. Our students showed progress in all academic subjects and grade levels. And seven of 10 graduates are going on to higher education.
"We need public partners to join us in our effort to advocate for our public schools. PSEA calls on parents, caregivers, and community leaders to ask legislators to prevent the cuts to school funding. A pay freeze alone will not be enough to preserve the programs our students need to succeed in the future.
"Despite the difficult economy, we must remember that students only get one chance at a quality education. Pennsylvanians must not permit this recession to rob our children of the opportunity public education provides to prepare them for a better future.
"Pennsylvania's schools are among the best in the nation. PSEA remains steadfast in its commitment to provide a quality education to the 1.8 million children who attend our public schools."