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The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

The official student news site of Norristown Area High School

The Wingspan

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MCIU Holds Press Conference to Promote Fair School Funding; NASD Speaks Up

Hope Rose Mauch
The MCIU board and select speakers from the press conference.

On April 26, 2024, the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU) held a “legislative breakfast” for state legislators, school board members, superintendents, and student representatives to promote the passage of Governor Josh Shapiro’s new budget, which would provide new funding to school districts like Norristown Area School District. During this breakfast, PA state representatives Joe Ciresi and Tracy Pennycuick hosted a panel to go over the new budget, which was followed by a press conference featuring NASD superintendent Christopher Dormer and NAHS students. 

The historic budget is geared towards funding public education and providing fair funding for all schools, investing an additional $1.1 billion to provide lower-income districts and districts with less tax revenue with a more appropriate amount of funds. The funds would be provided by the surplus throughout the Pennsylvania commonwealth. 

“We really have to look at the whole issue, not just what we need now,” said Pennycuick.

Directed towards districts such as Norristown, the new budget will allow for the district to flourish. According to the commission’s report, Norristown alone has been underfunded by $53 million annually. With the extra funds, Norristown could redo all of the old buildings that are not “fit for learning”, according to Dormer, without raising taxes. This would be the fourth year in a row Norristown could accomplish the goal of not raising taxes.

In addition to addressing Shapiro’s budget, Ciresi’s House Bill 1422, which passed in 2023, was also discussed. The House Bill acts upon previous attempts to reform charter school laws in Pennsylvania. Cyber Charter schools have been funded equally as Brick-and-mortar schools. This allows for cyber charter schools to be swimming in money through taxpayers while public schools are left underfunded. 

Ciresi’s House Bill 1422 correlates with Shapiro’s bill since they both discuss cutting the price public districts have to pay charter schools within their districts. Shapiro’s budget would save public schools $262 million a year.

After the breakfast, a press conference was held in which MCIU board members, student representatives, superintendents, and more spoke about all the great accomplishments that could be done with the budget. The press conference was conducted by Children First, a non-profit that strives to improve the lives and education of children in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. 

During the press conference, student representatives Jeremiah McCray, Norristown Area High School, Elizabeth Adedeji, Pottstown High School, and Nia Kennedy, Springfield Township High School, spoke about real-life experiences that could be avoided by the funding from the new budget. With the viewpoints of students, legislators can see just how important more funding would be for the lives of students. 

“I can tell you straight that better experiences for every student in the county and state may have a significant impact on our futures,” said Kennedy. 

Students of Montgomery County are divided, many districts have more funding due to taxes from malls and other big attractions. However, many other districts cannot tax government buildings and rely strictly on taxes from the community which are far too high as it is.  Lower-income districts have to work harder and raise more money to have the same experiences as high-income districts. 

“I don’t think that our district should have to rely on grants that may or may not be awarded in order to purchase equipment other districts can already afford,” said Adedeji. 

The injustices that Montgomery County faces due to the government not properly funding the state of Pennsylvania take away opportunities from students that are just as rightfully deserved. 

“Today presents all of us with an incredible opportunity to commit to work together in the best interests of our students, our staff members, our families, and our communities,” said NASD superintendent Dormer. 

If Montgomery County is given the chance to provide better education to students and rebuild buildings that have not been updated in years then the children of Montgomery County will be given more opportunity to thrive. 

The new budget, if approved, will begin on July 1, 2024. For now, to get the budget approved, PA residents can contact their local legislators to tell them all of the good that the budget will do for the students and communities of Pennsylvania. 

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About the Contributor
Hope Rose Mauch
Hope Rose Mauch, Editor-in-Chief
Hope Rose Mauch, a junior at Norristown, has been writing for the Wingspan since their freshman year, and this is their second year as the editor-in-chief. Along with writing for the paper, Hope is a cheerleader for the school.

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