EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Candidates Alisa Bowman, Ellen Zimmer Lewis, Z.W.Munson, Adam Smith and Alan Earnshaw are running for four seats on the board - four year term.
We asked the candidates the following question - How should public education be funded?
Democrat/Republican Alisa Bowman
Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in the state’s support of public schools. Harrisburg has promised to support public education only to deliver deep cuts or fail to pass a budget. Our students deserve reliable funding, and we can’t rely on Harrisburg. I don’t support the elimination of property tax. I do empathize with seniors who cannot afford their taxes. I support increasing the amount of relief seniors can get based on income. Pennsylvania is also the worst state in the nation for funding inequality. Because of that, I also support expanding the fair funding formula to apply to a greater percentage of state funds.
Democrat Ellen Zimmer Lewis
I believe we should keep the current system where roughly 10% of funding for public education comes from the federal government and the rest is the responsibility of the state. East Penn has done a good job keeping costs down for the taxpayers, while spending wisely in the areas that need improvement for the district. I think there are some areas where we could cut back, and a few where some advances are needed. I plan to study the district and work with board members to make some important changes. We have the potential to be one of the top-ranked districts in our state!
Democrat/Republican Z.W. Munson
Public funding for Pennsylvania schools is broken. Our representatives in Harrisburg have forced local taxpayers to pay an ever-increasing share of the bill for schools. They have refused to implement bipartisan fair funding reform that would result in $3.6 million more annually for East Penn. And they have failed to stop millions of local tax dollars from being siphoned off to corporate interests behind many charter schools. We must demand this broken system be fixed. The only way to insure public schools that serve everyone in the community is through public tax dollars used fairly for the common good. munson4eastpenn.org
Democrat/Republican Adam Smith
Funding public education requires a multi-pronged approach. The solution to school funding lies within every community member who benefits from well-run schools, whether directly or indirectly. This includes families of school-aged children, businesses looking to hire an educated workforce, and property owners benefiting from higher property values associated with strong school districts. However, property owners should not shoulder the burden alone. Harrisburg politicians must first find common ground in developing a fair and balanced funding system that raises revenue and provides equal funding. This would give school boards critical flexibility to reduce property taxes, bringing relief to local homeowners’ budgets.
Republican Alan Earnshaw
Public education should be funded with a blend of state and local taxes. Local funding preserves local control over schools. State funding helps reduce inequities between wealthy and poor districts by providing baseline revenues. Property taxes provide predictable income and stable budgets and should continue to be used but at lower levels than today. The Legislature must create a funding formula to ensure fair distribution of state funds (there is no formula today), then reduce property taxes, especially for senior citizens, the disabled, and the needy, through a natural gas extraction tax and modest increases in income and sales taxes.