Reacting to criticism of his deep cuts in state funding for education in his budget proposal, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has suggested teachers accept a one-year pay freeze to help school districts trim costs. Now, James Testerman, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, says he's urging teachers to consider doing just that. Testerman told WDUQ that he has sent a letter to all of the PSEA locals...
"I encouraged them to enter into discussions with their school boards about a pay freeze and other cost-saving measures to maintain class size and academic programs."
Testerman says the union has serious concerns with some of the governor's proposals but they want to ensure that students' education does not suffer so teachers should consider measures including paying more into their insurance or taking furloughs.
Testerman said he wants to have conversations with lawmakers concerning cuts and ways to make up the deficit such as taxing the Marcellus Shale industry, taxing smokeless tobacco and eliminating state income tax loopholes for corporations.
He said the cuts would be a blow to the educational system and a turn in the wrong direction.
"Well you can't cut 1.2 billion dollars from public education and not understand that there will be fewer people and fewer programs for kids," he said.