Amid chants of “Hey Corbett, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side,” hundreds of protesters marched from the United Steelworkers building in downtown Pittsburgh to Governor Tom Corbett’s regional office on Fifth Avenue with signs that read, "Save our Schools."
They were calling on the governor to back off of proposed cuts to public education.
“Evidence shows that our governor seems to be more concerned about the privatization of public education, or the 1%, as opposed to the 99% of people here in Pennsylvania trying to achieve quality education so they can have a good living in society,” said David Thornton, pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church in the Hill District.
Thornton was one of 11 people arrested for sitting in the intersection at Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, snarling morning traffic. Hundreds of others kept to the sidewalk and continued to chant as the others were taken away in a police van.
This has been an ongoing battle of education activists accusing the governor of cutting spending for education, and the Corbett administration saying it didn’t cut a thing.
The issue goes back about three years when Pennsylvania received $1.7 billion from the federal stimulus package. Because of that bump, the state decreased education funding and filled the hole with the federal dollars. But the federal stimulus ran out June 30th of last year, leaving education with about a billion dollars less to spend. To address that, Department of Education Spokesman Tim Eller said Governor Corbett increased state spending for education in the 2011-2012 budget, though added the loss of stimulus still had an impact.