On "Schools that Teach" Tour, Secretary Rivera Discusses the Future of Education in Pennsylvania

Mar 18, 2016, 15:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

MT. JOY, Pa., March 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today during a "Schools That Teach" tour stop, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera met with officials from the Lancaster County Career and Technical Center's (CTC) Mount Joy Campus to discuss the two paths Pennsylvania could take regarding the future of schools.

"Our schools and students are doing their best despite dwindling resources," said Secretary Rivera. "Career and technical schools across the commonwealth are doing great work with the resources they have, but now the state must do its part to invest in these CTCs in order to ensure students receive training to prepare them for the 21st century workforce. We must choose the path that provides a robust and needed investment in these critical, high-value programs."

The state budget introduced by Governor Tom Wolf in February included investments to modernize Career and Technical Education including funding for career counselors in middle and high schools, for developing innovative programs, and for grants for schools to purchase high-tech equipment.

Governor Wolf also proposed a $200 million increase in basic education funding, which is a 3.3 percent increase above the $377 million increase included in the 2015-2016 bipartisan budget compromise agreed to in December. That agreement was supported by bipartisan majorities in both chambers before Republican House leaders failed to hold a final vote. The new funding would be distributed using the Fair Funding Formula created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015.

The 2016-17 proposal would also add $50 million for Special Education, $60 million to expand Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Programs, as well as bolster funding to the state higher education institutions to lessen the reliance on tuition hikes and fee increases.

During the visit, Rivera heard from CTC Director David Warren, and teachers and administrators, who shared challenges the school has encountered in investing in career-ready programs.

"Increased personnel costs continue to be the major challenge for career and technical schools. Reasons for these challenges include increases in PSERS retirement and health care costs," Warren said. "At Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, we are blessed to have the support of all of our sixteen districts to meet the majority of our budgetary needs. With increased enrollments at Lancaster County Career & Technology Center, additional financial burdens are placed on our districts. Modification of the basic education subsidy formula should provide districts with increased funding for every student that they send to the career and technical schools. Without this change, many technical schools may face the need to close programs and facilities, taking away opportunities for students and an inability to meet the needs of local businesses."

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Reigelman, 717-783-9802.


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education