Like a Democratic strategist's comment about Ann Romney never working, Gov. Tom Corbett telling a talk radio audience to complain to school boards, not state government, about rising school taxes could leave him with egg on his face.
Last week, Corbett was asked on Philadelphia's Talk Radio 1210 WPHT what can be done to ease the education burden on taxpayers. The governor said small class sizes and overly generous contracts are factors in why schools are struggling, The Associated Press reports.
Undoubtedly, there is a degree of truth in that, but despite what the governor might imply, the situation is not that simple, and it's only fractionally the fault of school boards. They were only playing under the conditions largely set by government.
The state and federal government imposes all types of regulations and mandates that schools must meet, not to mention the push to meet performance standards. Those certainly have affected district spending plans.
Plus the state limits how schools can tax to fund their operations, leaving a strong reliance on property taxes. And the state Legislature and governor's office made the decisions that are creating the pension crisis that are threatening to bankrupt school districts in the upcoming years.
With the benefit of hindsight, school boards might have made some decisions on contracts and class sizes that now seem questionable, but we don't remember hearing any objections from Harrisburg at the time.
School boards are not blameless, but neither is the state. And the school boards have been stepping up and controlling costs amid changes in state funding.
While we encourage residents to attend school board meetings to learn about the issues and voice their opinions, the financial problems facing Pennsylvania's public schools largely are not of their own making.
The governor and taxpayers should know that.