Outraged teachers and parents in Northumberland County protested outside a political fundraiser Friday night attended by Governor Tom Corbett.
Many at the rally said the big-money political event was inappropriate given how many school districts in the coal region are hurting.
Districts are dealing with layoffs and cutbacks that the teachers’ union blames on fewer state dollars for education under Tom Corbett.
Some who live in Northumberland County came out to voice their displeasure.
It certainly wasn’t a friendly reception for Governor Tom Corbett as he pulled into the Indian Hills Golf Club near Elysburg.
Dozens of angered teachers, parents and students staged a protest across the street as the governor attended a pricey fundraiser for fellow Republican State Representative Kurt Masser which reportedly cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per plate.
“You see the cuts in education and how much it’s hurting students of our area and teachers, how hard they work, and they’re going in there paying $1,000 a couple to eat a meal,” said Michelle Erdman, a Shikellamy school teacher.
This fundraiser comes just a week after the Shamokin Area School Board voted to furlough 22 teachers to make its budget, which means the music program will be cut in grades kindergarten through eighth.
Sixth grader George Zalar plays the French horn but won’t be taking lessons on it next year.
“Nobody’s going to learn how to play an instrument and then the band’s going to get lost and how you have a football game without a band, you know what I mean?” said Zalar.
Newswatch 16 caught up with Governor Corbett at event earlier in the day in Lycoming County when the governor visited this company in Montoursville to promote his budget proposal.
When asked about lavish spending on campaigns, the governor said if people want to contribute to politicians, that is their right.
“The people voluntarily write their checks to a campaign contribution, they do not have to do that. When you ask me about holding the line, that’s holding the line of taxpayer money,” said Governor Corbett.
The governor left the fundraiser without speaking to those at the rally.
Still the protesters said their message came across.
“Make our voices heard and continue to fight for our children because without our children we won’t have a future,” said Shamokin Area High School Principal Chris Venna.
The fundraiser was not open to the public, however we did ask to speak with Representative Kurt Masser about how much it cost to attend the dinner.
He declined to comment.