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Local Schools Poised To Cut Programs In Wake Of Governor's Budget

NORTH VERSAILLES (KDKA) -- Governor Tom Corbett's proposed budget cuts are having an impact on local school districts.

The East Allegheny School District has nearly 2,000 students. The annual average family income is about $35,000.

Since Corbett sharpened his red pencil, there could be a lot less money for educating students – between $1.7 million and $1.9 million, according to Superintendent Roger D'Emidio.

State block grants pay for full-day kindergarten. The program, which is working, would disappear. "We started this four years ago and we saw a big difference," D'Emidio said.

The superintendent says taxpayers in the district can't handle more. "We have to make the best of what we … have and it is what it is," he said.

Courtney Hughes, mother of 3-year-old Kayleigh and 1-month-old Gabriella, is angry. "They shouldn't be cutting education," she said.

The West Mifflin Area School District is already looking at a more than $3 million shortfall. Corbett's additional $1 million-plus in proposed cuts would eliminate some reading, French, music and business classes.

"What we have to do about it is stand up and say, 'This is not going to fly' and we have to amend this," State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, said.

He says well-heeled communities would take much smaller hits than poor districts. For example, McKeesport Area Schools are looking at a $4.38 million reduction in state reimbursements while in Upper St. Clair, the cut is around $553,000.

"I think if enough of us band together, he won't have the votes to pass the budget," Kortz said.

East Allegheny and West Mifflin also receive funding to provide high school classes for 160 Duquesne-area students. That money is also missing from the Corbett budget.

Kortz says now is the time for those unhappy with the proposed education cuts to contact their state representatives and let them know how you feel.

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