Bethlehem Press

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Bethlehem Area School District’s Dr. Joseph Roy noted that the state fails to follow its own funding formula, resulting in racial disparity. Bethlehem Area School District’s Dr. Joseph Roy noted that the state fails to follow its own funding formula, resulting in racial disparity.
Bethlehem NAACP President Esther Lee not only helped cook breakfast, but moderated a panel discussion after the meal. Bethlehem NAACP President Esther Lee not only helped cook breakfast, but moderated a panel discussion after the meal.
PRESS PHOTO BY BERNIE O’HARECordelia Miller, Bethlehem NAACP VP, served as the host for a breakfast that included music, Liberty High School’s Color Guard, several speakers and a panel discussion. PRESS PHOTO BY BERNIE O’HARECordelia Miller, Bethlehem NAACP VP, served as the host for a breakfast that included music, Liberty High School’s Color Guard, several speakers and a panel discussion.

Annual MLK breakfast draws 130

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by Bernie O’Hare Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

MLK day was the coldest day of the year so far. Despite bitter temperatures, approximately 130 people bounced along icy roads in grumbling cars for something of an annual tradition.

It’s the annual Martin Luther King breakfast at the stately Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Civil rights leader Esther Lee usually leads these things, but she was actually in the kitchen, cooking up free breakfasts.

Cordelia Miller, Bethlehem NAACP VP, introduced guest speakers who included United States Senator Pat Toomey, State Representative Steve Samuelson, Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez, Bethlehem Police Chief Mark DiLuzio and Bethlehem School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Roy Bethlehem City Council members Willie Reynolds, Olga Negron and Michael Colon attended. So did NorCo Council person Tara Zrinski. In addition to these speakers, there was also an all-female panel discussion because. As Esther Lee remarked, “It is high time we listen to what women have to say.”

Senator Toomey agreed that people “should be judged on the basis of character, not color.” He commended Dr.King, whose actions were “always nonviolent.” Mayor Donchez stressed the role several African American women played in the civil rights movement, saying it “would not have been as successful had they not been involved.” These persons spoke as though the battle for equality has already been won.

Dr. Roy had a completely different view. In his view, racial disparity still exists in public school funding. He noted that the state legislature adopted a fair funding formula three years ago, but is unwilling to follow its own guidelines

“If a fair funding formula were implemented, Allentown School District would receive $80 million more and Bethlehem $20 million more,” he remarked. So would every school district in the Lehigh Valley, even affluent Parkland and East Penn

These school districts would see a deficit turn into a surplus and the need for a tax hike would be eliminated.

Dr. Roy also had an interesting obseravtion about the public school - “It’s the one place where everyone comes together.”