GETTYSBURG, Pa., March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today, joined by members of the General Assembly and local business and education leaders, talked about reinvesting $1 billion in proceeds from the sale of the state liquor store system into an educational block grant for Pennsylvania's schools.
This Passport for Learning Block Grant is in addition to Corbett's proposed $90 million increase in the upcoming budget's Basic Education Funding line item. This year's proposed $5.5 billion state investment in education is the highest in state history.
"Let's get Pennsylvania out of this outdated system of selling alcohol once and for all, and reinvest the proceeds into Pennsylvania's future - our children,'' Corbett said. "Selling liquor is not a core function of government; education is."
"Our proposal is part of my commitment to changing Harrisburg, streamlining government and moving Pennsylvania forward," Corbett said. "Our plan gives consumers what they want by increasing choice and convenience, and helps to secure our future by adding $1 billion in funding toward the education of our children, without raising any taxes."
The $1 billion in revenue will come from the three to four year process of selling the LCB: $575 million from the wholesale license process, $224 million from the wine and spirits retail auction process, $107 million from the wine/beer license application process and $112.5 million in the enhanced beer distributor application process.
"Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states in the country that have fully state-controlled liquor systems," Corbett said. "Our plan sells both the wholesale and retail arms of the state-run liquor business."
Corbett noted Adams County only has one state liquor store, located in Gettysburg.
"I want Pennsylvanians to enjoy the same convenience that virtually every other American has today," Corbett said.
The governor is proposing to use the $1 billion in proceeds from the sale of the state's liquor system to create the Passport for Learning Block Grant, to be divided among Pennsylvania's school districts over four years.
The Passport for Learning will offer funds in four, student-focused, initiatives: school safety, "Ready by 3," individualized learning programs, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
Enhancing access to STEM course work and programs is critical to preparing today's students for the jobs of tomorrow. Public schools could invest in programs that support STEM in grades 6-12, including career exploration activities, opportunities for technical skill attainment and partnerships with postsecondary education and training programs.
"Government not only needs to provide for an education for our young people, it needs to provide a quality education that gets them ready for the careers of this new century," Corbett said. "More money into STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – addresses the needs of our growing economy but also, more importantly, the needs of every young person to have a bright future in a vibrant state."
Two other areas of the Passport for Learning focus on elementary education and making sure Pennsylvania children start their educational path on solid footing in the subjects of reading and math.
"Ready by 3" is an initiative the governor believes is critical to a solid academic foundation early in a student's education. The focus is to ensure that students are performing at grade level by third grade, based on the Pennsylvania Common Core Academic Standards. Schools could invest in quality kindergarten programs and enrichment programs that promote academic achievement in elementary reading and math.
Recognizing that students learn differently and at their own pace, Corbett's proposal also includes an initiative for a self-paced, customized learning plan that would be based on a student's proficiency in academic standards. Schools could use grant funds to finance start-up costs to implement Competency-Based Education programs that move away from seat-time requirements to a model that is based on a student's mastery of specific course content.
The fourth element of the Passport for Learning will help school districts and parents feel safer about the environment where their children spend the greater part of the day. Children cannot succeed where they don't feel safe.
In January, Governor Corbett met with school superintendents, teachers and security personnel to listen to their thoughts about and suggestions for improving school safety.
Funds could be used for school safety and security efforts, including training for employees, enhanced security measures and partnerships with local law enforcement.
"With different needs across the state, each district should determine where investments should be made," Corbett said.
The governor was joined today by state Sen. Mike Waugh (R-York), Sen. Rich Alloway (R-Franklin), Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams), Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams), Rep. Todd Rock (R-Franklin), Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin), Rep. Steve Bloom (R-Cumberland), Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), Rep. Mike Regan (R-York), Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), and Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York).
Corbett was also joined by more than a dozen area education leaders, including representatives from the following school districts in Adams County: Dr. Larry Redding, superintendent, Gettysburg Area School District; Dr. Rebecca Harbaugh, superintendent, Conewago Valley School District; Dr. Shane Hotchkiss, superintendent, Bermudian Springs School District; Dr. Mike Lawrence, business manager, Upper Adams School District; Caroline Dean, Fairfield School District; and Wayne Wismar, business manager, Littlestown Area School District.
Additional education leaders attending today's event with the Governor included: Dr. Jo Padasak, superintendent, Chambersburg Area School District, Dr. Sherry Diller, superintendent, Waynesboro Area School District, and Brandon Phillips, Tuscarora School District, all from Franklin County; and Dr. William Harner, superintendent of Cumberland Valley School District, Cumberland County.
Also attending today's event were: Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce; Dave Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association; and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas.
For more information, visit www.pa.gov.
Media contact: Eric Shirk, Governor's Office, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor