ERIE, Pa., March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera today traveled to Erie City School District to meet with Superintendent Jay Badams, educators, and administrators and discuss how they can approach Erie's long-standing financial issues in a collaborative way. During the meeting, Rivera and Badams discussed Governor Tom Wolf's commitment to protecting public education, which has seen an increase of $640 million across all levels in his tenure, including additional funds specifically for Erie City Schools, as well as access and equity.
"The Department has been working extensively with the Erie City School District over the past months to create a plan that protects the students, families, and educators of the district; and today's visit served as a continuation of that conversation," said Rivera. "Governor Wolf and the Department of Education have worked tirelessly to ensure access to a high-quality education for all students, no matter which corner of the state they live in, and we're now working to safeguard those investments."
The governor's continued investments in education include securing an historic $640 million in additional funding, as well as proposing increases of $100 million for basic education, $75 million for high quality early childhood education; $25 million in special education; and more than $8 million for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
Since the 2015-16 budget, new basic education funds have been driven through a formula that was the outcome of the bicameral, bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission. Governor Wolf signed the formula into law in June 2016. The formula accounts for student-based factors, including the number of children in the district who live in poverty or who are enrolled in charter schools, as well as district based factors, including wealth of the district, the district's current tax effort, and the ability of the district to raise revenue. The formula also improves both equity and predictability for districts.
Rivera added that the Wolf Administration's Schools That Teach tour has given him the opportunity to hear from the educators, administrators, students, and families who are impacted by the policies adopted in Harrisburg.
"Pennsylvania is a diverse state, with schools and communities that may feel far removed from what happens in Harrisburg, and this tour has provided me with the chance to visit our stakeholders where they are," Rivera noted. "The Department's mission is to work with schools to create world-class learning environments for all students, and receiving input and fresh perspectives from communities across the commonwealth only brings us closer to reaching that goal."
Improving access to quality and innovative programs through enhanced funding is a hallmark of the Schools That Teach initiative, through which Administration officials have visited dozens of schools since 2015. To date, the Schools That Teach tour has made stops at more than three dozen schools across Pennsylvania. A Google Map of all tour stops is available here.
For more information about Pennsylvania's education policies and programs, visit the Department of Education's website at www.education.pa.gov or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. A Google Map of all tour stops is available here.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education