YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Educators across the Commonwealth are meeting at Cousler Park in Manchester Township, York County this afternoon to discuss how gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Doug Mastriano's education plan could cause a dramatic cut in public school funding if implemented.
The meeting is slated to begin at 4 p.m.
The plan involves reducing the annual student funding of $19,000 per year, to around $9,000 or $10,000. The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), estimates the state would have to cut public school education by more than $12 billion.
Leaders from the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), National Education Association, and Central York School District hope to let the public know how these public education cuts could affect York County.
Rich Askey, president of the PSEA, said that now is not the time to start taking away resources.
"This is an alarming plan that is taking opportunities away from the children in Pennsylvania," Askey said. "We should be investing even more into their future."
Becky Pringle, president of the NEA, shared a similar sentiment, and said that Mastriano is out of touch with what educators in public schools need in Pennsylvania.
"(Mastriano) would cut almost $13 billion from public education at a time when we need more resources for our students, we need to address the reality that our teachers and other educators need professional pay," Pringle said. "We need mental health services for our students, all of those things, demonstrated that he is wildly out of touch with what the people of Pennsylvania need."
Many educators pointed to the teacher shortage that is impacting public schools across the Commonwealth and even across the country. Ben Hodges, a performance arts teacher in the Central York School District, said this potential cut would put more weight on an already strained system.
"I just don't think we should be cutting budgets during a time of teacher shortage," Hodges said. "We should be looking for ways to create more jobs and more people in the education field."
Mastriano released a statement on social media, defending his proposals. His campaign tweeted:
Doug Mastriano's education plan does not reduce spending by one dime—but it would take a percentage of the state per pupil spending and give it directly to families so that their children have the opportunity to escape failing schools.
Mastriano may address more on his budget plan during an outdoor rally with Donald Trump, Jr. in Chambersburg this Friday.
FOX43 reached out to Mastriano's campaign for a statement about his education plans, but received no answer.