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Tell Us: What Do You Think About the Simmons/Deely Race?

As the race for the 131st PA House seat heats up, we want to know what you think, how you're voting, and why?

As we head into October, the campaign trail for the 131st House seat is blazing with election detrius. Since being named a "Race to Watch" by Politics PA, the Simmons Deely race has heated up. 

Earlier this week, Rep. Justin Simmons re-election campaign launched a series of political ads aimed squarely at challenger Kevin Deely. Deely, in turn, lashed back with a fiery op-ed questioning incumbant Simmons leadership. 

Read more below: 

  • Deely/Simmons Race 'One to Watch' Says Politics PA
  • Election Preview: 131st State House Race
  • Simmons Campaign Goes on Attack in New Campaign Ads
  • Op-Ed: Kevin Deely 'I'm Responding to Simmons' Lies'
  • OpEd: Justin Simmons Says Teacher Accountability is a Common Sense

What did you think of the race for the 131st seat? Tell us in the comments section below.

srodham69 October 06, 2012 at 02:22 PM
as opposed to what, Mr. Sentner? a student from St. Joe's University that's never had skin in the game? I'm not a teacher, and I don't believe in merit pay. How would you pay the art teacher? The gym teacher? Do we use children as pawns in a game for dollars? Do you want to hammer away at the children with disabilities so that they can pass a test some can't read? What about parental responsibility in regard to the child who misses a day or two a week? Are they accountable as well? I think you need to answer some questions as well.
Robert Sentner October 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM
TS. you are correct, Corbett and his unfunded mandates, and Simmons voting for Act 13 doesn't make me happy in the slightest, BUT that alternative is unacceptable. Deely would be a disaster, the school boards are out of control and of coarse I am the town cryer on pension reform. we have to do something and stop worrying about getting re elected.
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I appreciate that. Although I think Corbett/Simmons should be more closely associated with the word disaster. Again I ask, what is Simmons/Corbett telling you they are going to do about pensons? You seem to assume they have the answer. Also, I want to know what you think school districts should cut. I saw 2 local school districts spend less in a year than the previous year but still have to have small tax raises as the costs for everything (not just pensions) went up.
careless fills October 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM
name those districts please
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Parkland this year, East Penn last year.
Robert Sentner October 06, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Srodham69 teachers are the greatest assets we have for defining our children, in some cases even more important than the parents as sad as it is to say. BUT just like when I went to school there was some bummer teachers that were not worth the space they took up and there were teachers that were above and beyond what anyone could ask for ( Balliet, Fichter,( Kotiska as much as i hated her when in school ), Christoff, Windt, Fegley, Souders.... these are some teachers that were fantastic teachers and deserved every penny they made. I won't put the list of teachers that were not worth the air that they breathed. all I am saying is tenure should not protect those teachers, and the outstanding teachers should be rewarded. The biggest problem that EPSD has is the lack of proper planning by the townships, and municipalities. LMT with there exploding development is over whelming our schools. They reap the benefits of the EIT's and the rest of us suffer.
Paula October 06, 2012 at 03:09 PM
@Robert Sentner. I agree with you about us not needing a teacher union boss in Harrisburg and about keeping these poor performing teachers on the payroll. In our District, specifically, we are in desperate need of new leadership. I spoke with both men ..far too muchinfo. to write on here (I advise people to contact both parties and ask questions) . I believe Rep.Simmons is the better man for the job.
Jon Geeting October 06, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Most schools in the LV are underfunded. The really wealthy suburban schools are doing ok, but the poorer ones aren't, and those are the schools that really got screwed by Justin Simmons and Tom Corbett's budgets. Allentown had to get rid of 200 teachers because of state budget cuts! Who really thinks that kids in Allentown are going to have an easier time learning with 200 fewer teachers?
Bob Thomas October 06, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Hey Jon since you don't live in PA maybe you would like to know that School districts are forbidden to layoff union teachers for budget reasons. SO they have to cut whole programs. Tell me how that makes sense. Easton school district was in trouble because of deely's budget busting contract BEFORE Simmons and Corbet came into office. See for yourself http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2010/04/budget_teacher_cuts_expected_t.html
Bob Thomas October 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM
They were asking Deely to reopen contract in 2009 and he refused. Wonder home many teachers that would have saved? But Mr. Deely didn't see any need. See for yourself http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf/2009/04/easton_area_school_district_te.html
Paula October 06, 2012 at 06:17 PM
@Jon..speaking of Allentown School District, I wonder what Deely thinks of the child who raped other children in the Allentown School and nobody came forward..not even those precious teachers or administrators. I wonder what legislation he (Deely) will be working on to protect children from such horrid acts? I asked Simmons and he and his staff spoke with me for a fair amount of time and gave me specifics. Deely.. COULD NOT and DID NOT give me any specifics. Perhaps you can phone both parties and get back to us.
Paula October 06, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Cont: We need know our children are thriving academically , we also need to know they are safe.
Rob Hamill October 06, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Robert, just so you know. Truth seeker is a teacher union worker. They always advocate for no accountability and much higher pensions at age 56, even if it bankrupts the commonwealth. Deely would represent one constituency, the teachers union of which he is a "head" of. They put a goon against Simmons because Simmons is quite effective in opposing the enemy of the private sector... the public sector union pensioners.
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Tell the entire story Bob. The contract was reopened and this awful union did agree to concessions: http://articles.mcall.com/2011-05-23/news/mc-easton-school-budget-teachers-rati20110523_1_kevin-deely-easton-teachers-program-and-teacher-cuts From the same article: 70% of the districts across the state were considering layoffs to deal with cuts that came from lawmakers like Corbett and Simmons. Easton was nothing unique. It was typical of an inner city school that had previously been properly funded and than had to absorb big funding cuts.
Bob Thomas October 06, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Dear Truth seeker, If you open your eyes put on your glasses and really seek the truth and look at the dates you will see that that the articles are from 2009 and 10 Simmons and Corbet came into office in 2011. As for your article if cuts were so bad how come 100% weren't looking for cuts and layoffs? Maybe some districts had Teacher union Presidents that could work responsibly and in a grown up manner that Mr. Deely couldn't do. Probably why they told him not to run as president again.
careless fills October 06, 2012 at 09:11 PM
@TS, sorry to burst your bubble but that's not what the official statement for the recent bond refinanacing and the budget for this year say for East Penn. There has been a significangt spending increase every year. I don't follow PSD as closely, so I won't comment there. See: 1) http://www.eastpennsd.org/Budget/_docs/EastPennSD.pdf (page 11) 2) http://www.eastpennsd.org/Budget/_docs/BudgetBook2012.pdf (page III-1). Specifically, at EPSD 1) Spending for 2009-2010 was $107,482,758. 2) Spending for 2010-2011 was $110,508,390, a more than $3 million increase. 3) Assuming the $5.7 million reserve was unspent from the $120.3 budget, spending for 2011-12 was $114,589,971, a more than $4 million increase. 4) Assuming the $5.9 million reserve won't be spent from the $125 million budget, spending for 2012-13 will be $119,043,909, a more than $4.4 million dollar increase. All of this supports the fact that EPSD has increased its budget in each of the last 3 years, and refutes your assertion that therwa was spending decrease "last year", no matter what year that was that you were thinking of.
careless fills October 06, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I never heard of Deely until now, but I am very familiar with the Easton situation. Both T.S. and B.T. have half the story and miss half of it. 1) The contract at EASD was reopened during the budget cycle in the spring of 2011, anc concessions were granted by the union and layoffs were avoided for that one year. Unfortunately, most predicted that the concessions would not be enough to avoid a crunch the next year. 2) The contract at EASD was not reopened during the budget cycle in the spring of 2012. Without concessions, the cost of the still onerous contract required over 50 teacher layoffs, some announced immediately, and some others later in the summer.
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 09:37 PM
http://www.eastpennsd.org/Budget/_docs/generalfundbudget2012.pdf going by district budget on website 2010/11 120,804,398 2011/2012 120,319,470 I realize these numbers at the beginning of a budget can change. But this is what the website states.
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Ah no Bob it's becasue every school district is somewhat different. Poorer school districts especially urban districts were hit hardest because they were receving more money from the state. It depeneded largely on a number of factors including local tax revenues, budget reserves in a particular district etc. However, it would be accurate to say that all districts were effected. You really didn't know that?
careless fills October 06, 2012 at 10:51 PM
The bond documents (that I cited) and the 2012-2013 budget (that I cite) show that $110,508,390 was spent in 2010-2011, not the $120,804,398 figure that you cite. We should all trust the bond documents right? Not only are those audited results, but it's what is presented to investors. Anything else there would be would be a fradulent representation, and I really doubt that would happen. So why is there a $10,296,002 discrepancy between those numbers? The answer, my friend is that the fund balance and reserve are much larger than they appear, and it's all hidden in bogus appropriation numbers that have little basis in reality!
careless fills October 06, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I don't want to get to stuck into this conversation between Bob and TS, but the problem at EASD has a lot more to do with expenses associated with the exceptionally generous contract than it has to do with revenue. Reserves (good or not) don't really enter into it either, since spending a reserve is unsustainable.
truth seeker October 06, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Careless why wasn't Easton having that problem before the state cuts? Do you see the cuts and the huge budget problems as having nothing to do with each other? Eastis is far from the only district to go through those problems. Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg etc. I remember the Easton cotract providing a jump. They were also one of the lower paying districts before that jump. Maybe it was too big. the salary freeze and other concession followed soon after.
careless fills October 07, 2012 at 01:43 AM
What happened in Easton is avctually quite simple, and it demonstrates one of the dangers of having a large fund balance. It becomes a target for excess spending that is unsustainable because its one time non-recurring money, as opposed to being continuing revenue. As you know, at Easton, a 5 year contract was agreed to early in 2008. The line item for regular instruction salaries increased 21% between 08-09 and 09-10. I suspect some of that was an increase in the number of positions, but much was pay rate and benefit increases. EASD's 09-10 budget planned a $6.5 million decrease in fund balance, and it turned out to be a $7,5 million deficit. They couldn't hide the problem any more, and the rest is history. Pay freeeze in 2011, layoffs in 2012. East Penn had a similar problem two decades ago, and had consecutive 22% and 10% tax increases. There's no doubt that the meager revenue increases resulting from the economy didn't help EASD, but the bigger problem was the huge pay increases. I have a young friend who survived the cuts so far, but (s)he is laughing to the bank now.
Phillyboy October 08, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Hey Srodham 69... You say Simmons doesnt have skin in the game??You must be smoking the same weed as Deely. Last I heard Deely is living in an appt. above a deli ? My vote is with the student from St .Joseph's University. Deely is a union hack. He screwed the good taxpayers in Easton schools and quite a few teachers as well. Simmons will smoke Deely in the upcoming election.
Phillyboy October 08, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Hey Jon....our taxes didnt go up as a result of the state budget. YOU and the teachers are making education funding the #1 issue in this race. This district hates your union. Your candidate gets smoked on November 6th which is nothing more than a reflection of the sentiment of the people of this area. This is alot more to being a state rep than lobbying for teachers pocket books and Deely is going to find out the hard way.
An interested bystander October 08, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Missed the part where you held Rendell accountable for his actions in using Obamabucks, which he knew were temporary, to plug the hole he dug in education spending. Or do you not hold Democrats accountable?
Crestor Januvia October 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about Geeting. Corbett is spending more on education that Rendell ever did. The cuts you talk about are cuts of FEDERAL STIMULUS DOLLARS. OBAMA MADE THOSE CUTS. Go away you liberal loser. Doesn't matter how many teachers Allentown has. The student body guarantees there will never be success there. We should quit spending money as it will never make a difference.
Michael October 09, 2012 at 12:41 PM
The Corbett administration, wholeheartedly supported by Justin Simmons has proven itself to be shills for big oil and gas. Justin Simmons is on record (video interview on Patch) denying that global warming due to human activity even exists when climatologists throughout the world have proven it does using scientific method. The damage to Pennsylvania's woods and watersheds is growing exponentially as wells and pipelines rip into our state forests. Who are these people that think they can auction off what has been set aside for future generations?! These treasures are not theirs to sell. As far as education goes, the Corbett administration supported by the likes of Justin Simmons has become simply a budget issue worthy of no more consideration than mosquito spraying. Corbett regularly encourages Pennsylvania's youth to learn to weld so they can work in the boom then bust gas fields. The answer to Pennsylvania's economic problems is not toxic drlling and Fracking for unnatural gas. It is funding a premiere education system that will develop true clean energy and technology for the future. Justin Simmons' surly comments during his video interview illustrate his ignorance and unflagging allegiance to Tom Corbett's co-opted policies dictated by Anasarko, BP, Shell, Connoco Phillips, Exxon, Chevron, Cabot Oil and Gas, ....
Joe Sommers October 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Michael...You have no clue how government is run. Its all about the education right ???? Your a Deely douche bag ,Education is doing just fine. This admininistartion plugged the gap for what Obama 's stimulus took away from education that was caused by Fast Ed Rendell pulling out $2 B before he left the governship. Rep Simmons is doing a great job . He has helped thousands of constituents in this area both Democrat and Republican.alike. Who the hell is this asshole Deely coming in here to think that he wont do what he did in Easton !!! Raise property taxes double digit due to insane teachers contracts that HE negotiated. Teachers lost their jobs as well . This district doesnt need a public sector union hack lke Deely.
careless fills October 20, 2012 at 02:24 AM
What happened in Easton is avctually quite simple, and it demonstrates one of the dangers of having a large fund balance. It becomes a target for excess spending that is unsustainable because its one time non-recurring money, as opposed to being continuing revenue. Here are the facts: At Easton, a 5 year contract was agreed to early in 2008. The line item for regular instruction salaries increased 21% between 08-09 and 09-10. I suspect some of that was an increase in the number of positions, but much was pay rate and benefit increases. EASD's 09-10 budget planned a $6.5 million decrease in fund balance, and it turned out to be a $7,5 million deficit. They couldn't hide the problem any more, and the rest is history. Pay freeeze in 2011, layoffs in 2012. East Penn had a similar problem two decades ago, and had consecutive 22% and 10% tax increases as a result. There's no doubt that the meager revenue increases resulting from the economy didn't help EASD, but the bigger problem was the huge pay increases. I have a young friend who survived the cuts so far, but (s)he is laughing to the bank now.

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