The school district in Reading, Pa.—the nation’s poorest city—laid off 110 teachers last week, along with hundreds of other employees, the New York Times reports. As elementary students watched in shock, many of their favorite teachers were pulled out of an assembly one by one and given the bad news by district officials, The Reading Eagle reported. The layoffs will mean larger classes and an end to public prekindergarten in the city. Many special-education students will lose their mentors. A city where only 8 percent of the residents have a bachelor’s degree (compared with the national average of 28 percent) will fall further behind, largely because Pennsylvania’s Republican governor, Tom Corbett, chose not to find state money to replace $900 million in federal aid that ran out after the stimulus expired. Instead, he further drained his public coffers by cutting business taxes by $250 million this year. Across the country, many states like Pennsylvania that happily accepted stimulus money to pay for existing employees are laying off those workers now that Congress has turned off the spigot…

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staff and wire services reports