SCRANTON -- School administrators from Lackawanna, Wayne, and Susquehanna Counties met Wednesday to release a report on the financial health of Pennsylvania's public schools.
Those administrators also chimed in on how Governor Wolf's proposed natural gas tax could help, or hinder, the public school system.
Those school administrators met at Scranton High School to go over the findings of a survey that asked more than 300 school districts about their financial health. The administrators there say the survey calls for not only more state funding for public education, but also recommends some fixes to the system.
The school administrators and board members come from districts of different sizes and varied communities. But, they say, they all have similar financial problems outlined in a lengthy survey put together by school administrators from across the state.
The report shows that a few things have hurt schools financially over the past decade: pension obligations, funding for charter and cyber schools, and limits on property tax hikes.
"So, what we hope to gain is that Harrisburg takes a look at this and sees that we need help. We've struggled, we have put a huge burden on our local taxpayers with property tax because that's the only point that we can make, the only control that we have in our funding is property taxes," said Rose Emmett, Western Wayne School District business administrator.
Last week, Governor Tom Wolf announced a potentially major infusion of money into the state's schools from a tax on natural gas production that would be distributed evenly among public schools.
But the administrators here say that severance tax would likely go toward funding teacher pensions, only solving one of their financial problems.
"Of course, my stand is that we need to critically look at the pension system to change it, because currently it is unsustainable," said Abington Heights School Board president Cathy Hardaway.
Of course, these school officials support any state money they can get. Taking away the pension burden would free up other funds. Hardaway says it doesn't fix the root of the problem.
"It is definitely the time to look at changes to the pension system. Currently, Governor Wolf's position is to have an infusion of money into the system as opposed to change it."
The school officials we talked to said on top of the proposed severance tax, they are also hoping Harrisburg can give them more money and the freedom to spend it how they think best.