The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

March 28, 2014

McCord: Pa. schools stretched too far

Randy Griffith

JOHNSTOWN — State Treasurer Rob McCord did a lot of listening Thursday at Ferndale Area Elementary School, but he wasn’t shy when it was his turn to talk about his ideas for education if he is elected governor.

“Too many schools are stretched to the breaking point,” McCord told a small group of administrators Thursday during a campaign stop at the school.

“We have cut through not just the fat, but to the meat and bones.”

Sitting at a conference room table in the administrative wing, McCord asked Superintendent Carole Kakabar, business manager John Kowal, state and federal programs coordinator B. Wayne Lohr and teachers union President Susan Layton about Ferndale’s success in overcoming recent cuts in state funding.

After-school and weekend tutoring and other programs and transportation for after-school programs were the primary areas mentioned by the group.

At the elementary school, there is after-school tutoring three days a week, Kakabar said.

“That doesn’t run all year,” she said. “It is definitely helping the students, but we could do so much more. At the high school, we have no tutoring for them.”

McCord, who is running for governor in the May 20 Democratic primary, said he is touring schools in the state to share his plan to restore funding that was cut under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s watch by adding an extraction tax on gas wells.

“This is one of the schools with much less funding than some other school districts, but is still providing high standards of education,” McCord said. “I am inspired by people who are using the best of what they have to provide a quality education, but no amount of heroic sacrifice can make up for lack of vital resources.”

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at