Our schools in Delaware County are some of the best in the state, but our teachers and school boards are trapped in a broken system that just isn’t getting the job done. It forces our teachers to “teach to the test” instead of preparing our kids to compete for jobs in a global workforce. Our school boards face burdensome one-size-fits-all regulations from Washington and Harrisburg that drive up the cost of educating our kids but do nothing to improve learning.

Alex Charlton knows we need to get the Harrisburg bureaucracy out of the way of our teachers and students. We need more funding for education – with fewer strings attached.

We also need to improve educational services for kids that face unique learning challenges like autism. This means more in special education funding, more teachers that specialize in working with kids with disabilities and more resources for families.

We also need to fix a school funding formula that isn’t working for too many of Pennsylvania’s 1.8 million students. Class sizes are going up and kids are getting left behind. There are more challenges on the horizon. Pension, health care and other costs will continue to rise. School boards across Pennsylvania will increasingly find themselves forced either to raise taxes or dramatically limit services and educational opportunities for our kids.

A severance tax on natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region, similar to taxes imposed in states like Texas and West Virginia, can be a source of funding for our schools and can lessen the property tax burden on homeowners. Natural resource severance taxes have raised billions of dollars in revenue for states across the country and have helped school districts make ends meet.

Massive tax hikes on seniors and middle-class families aren’t the answer. Too many Pennsylvanians – particularly seniors – already face growing property tax bills that threaten to tax them out of homes they’ve owned for decades. We need to cut waste out of a bloated Harrisburg bureaucracy, make smarter spending decisions, fix our school funding formula and put school boards, teachers and parents in charge.