A group of parents led by a Democratic candidate for the state House held a mock bake sale at the Capitol this afternoon to protest Gov. Tom Corbett's proposals for education funding.
With platters of apparently real cookies in the foreground and small, poster-holding children behind them, a couple of speakers made the case that the budget proposal would cut public-school funding too much for parents to make up the difference through bake sales and car washes.
"There are simply not enough cookies in Pennsylvania to stop the irreparable harm being caused by the state budget cuts," said Erica Burg, one of the organizers.
Whether Corbett's proposal amounts to a funding cut is a matter of disagreement. The administration says its plan would send each district at least as much money as it currently receives, while House Democrats argue the budget would cut funding. The difference lies in how to account for two areas of funding, one related to federal stimulus money and the other to the state contribution to the pensions of school workers.
On the steps of the main rotunda, parents led their children in singing a "This Land is Your Land" takeoff, which went, in part:
No politician can ever stop us, as we seek knowledge and strive for justice. We have the power, we have the courage, 'cause these schools were made for you and me.
Susan Spicka, a Shippensburg Democrat running for the state House, said the administration could find money for public schools by closing the so-called Delaware loophole, imposing a larger tax on natural gas drilling and ending the subsidy to the horse racing industry from casino revenue.
The group plans similar protest bake sales across the state, including one at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh on Saturday.