By State Representative Bob Brooks
In response to your article on July 1, the Penn Hills School District is in debt to the tune of approximately $175 million. Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office said that investigators found gross financial mismanagement.
What is the district doing to erase this massive debt? The answer is to allow the government to bail them out using your hard-earned money. Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) used his position to appropriate $3.3 million, which comes from the state budget, to help alleviate the debt. The Penn Hills School Board could have helped the situation by increasing property taxes at least 1 mill, like most school districts that are struggling to balance their budgets.
The problem is that the $3.3 million is YOUR money. It is not government money and the senator just rewarded the district for egregious financial mismanagement with money from each taxpayer in the state with no oversight planned. Penn Hills took the funding, but how is the district trying to fix the problem in the long term? As a newly elected state representative, I vowed to focus on strategic growth, while providing solid family-sustaining jobs and keeping spending in check. We are not keeping spending in check by giving a handout to organizations and institutions that abuse the system.
Sen. Costa should be ashamed of his actions. Instead of spoon feeding the district by handing them a big fat check, the district should be paying it back in some way. The Penn Hills School District should be under state review for the next several years. This type of bailout gives Pennsylvania government a poor stewardship reputation in regard to the use of the people’s money!
The residents of the Penn Hills School District did not create this mess. Mismanagement by the school board and administrators created this mess. It’s time for them to own up to their mistakes and take proper action. After all, isn’t that what we teach our children? My office will be monitoring this situation very closely in the future.
The 54th Legislative District includes the townships of Fawn, West Deer and part of Harrison in Allegheny County; and also in Westmoreland County, the boroughs of Export, Lower Burrell and Murrysville; along with the townships of Allegheny, Upper Burrell and part of Penn.
Representative Bob Brooks
54th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Rick Leiner
717.260.6437 (office), 717.497.8478 (cell)