BRISTOL, Pa., June 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera today brought the Schools That Teach tour to Bucks County, as he visited Bristol Borough School District to talk about the future of education funding in the commonwealth.
Secretary Rivera has visited schools across Pennsylvania over the course of the past year, having open conversations with stakeholders and discussing solutions to challenges.
"The Schools That Teach tour has brought me to schools in all four corners of the state, each with their own unique environment and circumstances," Rivera said. "However, the common thread connecting them all is their willingness to do whatever is necessary to provide equitable access to a high-quality education for all the students in their communities. We must make investing in our schools a priority so they can obtain the resources they need to best serve their students and set them on the path to future success."
During the visit, Rivera met with the district's Superintendent Dr. Thomas Shaffer, teachers, board members, and administrators, who laid out both the successes and challenges faced by the district in recent years.
"The Bristol Borough School District was honored and pleased to host Secretary Rivera," said Dr. Shaffer. "It is encouraging to know that the Secretary is taking time out of his busy schedule to listen to both our points of pride and the challenges we face as a district. Given the cuts in funding, both at the state and federal levels, we have had to eliminate or curtail some of our programs. To know that PDE and Governor Wolf are concerned gives educators hope that those disparities and lack of funding will be addressed."
In his 2016-17 budget, Governor Wolf has proposed a $200 million increase in basic education funding. This increase will be distributed through Pennsylvania's new Basic Education Funding (BEF) Formula, known as Act 35, which Governor Wolf signed into law on June 1. The new formula accounts for district-based factors including the wealth of the district, the district's current tax effort, and the ability of the district to raise revenue. It also includes student-based factors like the number of children in the district who live in poverty, are enrolled in charter schools, or are English language learners.
The formula, created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015, will assure school districts that new funding will be distributed equitably and investments in education will benefit all Pennsylvania's students, no matter where they live.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education