Council Supports Fair School Funding | News, Sports, Jobs
LOCK HAVEN — The Lock Haven City Council has passed a resolution in support of a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania General Assembly over the fair funding of its school districts.
The Keystone Central School Board made the request to the board, ahead of their Monday meeting.
“(Council) passed a resolution and asks other municipalities to do the same to support legal action against the general assembly, urging the assembly to maintain a fair, adequate and predictable funding system, as required the constitution of the state, City manager Greg Wilson told council.
Wilson said the resolution would cost the city no money and, after it was passed, would be sent to local state officials and senators.
If the lawsuit were to succeed, Wilson said it could have a positive effect on local taxpayers.
“This is essentially a lawsuit to pressure the state to increase the amount of funding it provides to the local school district, thereby removing that burden on local taxpayers. State tax comes from labor income,” he said. “Your real estate doesn’t care whether you’re unemployed or retired. Property tax just cares that it gets paid.
The resolution passed by a vote of 5 to 2, Councilors Richard Morris and Jeff Brinker voting against.
Morris told the board he felt the resolution would accomplish little.
“Honestly, I don’t know what we’re supposed to add to the discussion by passing this resolution,” he said. “I think it’s a bad resolution and I’d rather the city wasn’t involved.”
He later added that it doesn’t matter how the funding is distributed when there isn’t enough to start with. “And the first problem is that you have to get the right amount of state aid”, he said. “The Commonwealth court won’t do it for you because it’s a political decision. And therefore, we should – if we think that’s the problem – pressure our state officials to improve this.
Councilman Steve Stevenson said it all starts at the local level, like the resolution, which he supports.
“If it’s a grassroots campaign or initiative to get pay equity for students, I support that. The more for school districts, the less for the real estate with which we are overwhelmed”, he said. “I don’t mind supporting a grassroots campaign if it’s to help everyone.”
Councilor Richard Conklin said he didn’t entirely disagree with Morris’ points, but still favored the resolution.
“Until you start stirring the waters…until we start at least starting conversations about how unhappy the vast majority of school districts in the state are…we won’t reach that fork on the road”, he said. “I think we make as much noise as possible going to the fork in the road.”
In another corporate advice:
— Approval of multiple use requests for: William T. Piper Airport in August for the annual Wings Over Piper event; the Peddie Park softball fields for the Clinton County Special Olympics; Triangle Park for Roads to Peace for sexual assault awareness and prevention; Zindel Park for Fire on the Rocks 10K in 2023.
– Passed a resolution to temporarily close Sarah’s Alley next to Stella A’s Bar and Grill from May 1 through July 31. Wilson said the shutdown will last 90 days, and then the board could revisit it at its July 25 meeting.
— Passed an amendment to the city code that would give the Public Works Department the ability to authorize the opening/excavation of city streets.
– Considered a resolution to file for the annual MS-339 for county assistance for its contractual portion of expenses for interchange lighting on Route 220 and Paul Mack Boulevard. Wilson said the city is allocating $4,000.
– Dates announced for this year’s citywide spring cleaning. The dates for this year are Monday April 11 and Tuesday April 12; Monday April 18 and Tuesday April 19.
The next council meeting will be Monday, April 4 at 7 p.m. at City Hall and will be live streamed on the City’s Facebook and YouTube pages.