Pennsylvania superintendents rally for more state funding for urban school districts

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Superintendents from urban school districts in Pennsylvania rallied at the State Capitol saying their districts need more money. The superintendents say their students face unique educational needs.

"Urban school districts are not necessarily failing," said Steelton-Highspire School District Superintendent Travis Waters. "But urban school districts are underfunded."

Waters say 92 percent of the students in his district live in poverty.

"We do not have the resources to address the social and emotional issues we have," said Waters.

Waters says his district and many other urban districts are also dealing with old schools.

"Even if we talk about school safety with a lot of the school shootings," said Waters. "It's a challenge trying to address our facilities to improve the safety of our buildings."

The Harrisburg School District is currently facing a $3 million deficit for next year's budget. On top of that, the district could be taken over by the state. One reason for that, not meeting financial goals. Superintendent Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney says, the state taking over could do more harm than good.

"From what I have observed so far in the other districts that have been taken over," said Dr. Knight-Burney. "Is that it has not been as profitable for the students around education, so I'm very concerned."

To make up for the budget shortfall - the district is looking at raising property taxes. The current proposal would cost the average homeowner an extra $40 a year.

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