HARRISBURG – Warning that staffing shortages are at crisis levels in Pennsylvania’s public schools, PSEA President Rich Askey called on the Legislature today to increase starting salaries for educators and support professionals and to adopt policies that remove barriers to entering education professions. Testifying at a hearing of the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, Askey spoke in support of solutions that respect and value the important role educators and support professionals play in the lives of the state’s 1.7 million public school students. At the heart of the school staffing crisis is a decline in the number of college graduates entering education professions. To address the problem, Askey called on policymakers to adopt a state-funded plan that sets minimum salaries at $60,000 a year for education professionals, including educators, school counselors, and nurses. He also called for a $20 per hour minimum wage for education support professionals, such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and paraprofessionals.