Secretary Rivera Continues "Schools That Teach" Tour in Mifflin County School District

Stresses need for increased education funding in the 2015-16 state budget

Aug 03, 2015, 17:34 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Education

LEWISTOWN, Pa., Aug. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera continued his "Schools That Teach" tour today in Mifflin County, where he sat down for a discussion with educators in the Mifflin County School District to discuss the need for the increased school funding generated through Governor Tom Wolf's proposed severance tax on gas drilling.

"Like many of the districts that I have had the opportunity to visit over the past seven months, Mifflin County School District has felt the devastating effects of reductions in state support going directly to the classroom," Rivera said. "The struggles facing Pennsylvania schools is the reason why Governor Wolf continues to advocate for additional funding for education in the 2015-16 budget and convey the message that funding for education is not a cost; it is an investment in Pennsylvania's future."  

During the roundtable discussion, Secretary Rivera heard from administrators and staff about how the district plans to invest in professional development opportunities for staff, institute personalized learning supports for struggling students and restore programs that had been cut due to budget constraints, through Governor Wolf's proposed funding increases.

"While during recent years Mifflin County School District -- like schools across the commonwealth -- has had to do more with less, today's meeting with Secretary Rivera was heartening," Mifflin County School District Superintendent James Estep said. "By laying out our priorities and discussing how additional state funding could meet those needs, we were able to make a case not just for our school but for all the students, teachers and administrators facing the same difficulties we are. I am hopeful that we will be able to work together in the future to ensure that Pennsylvania's students receive the quality educational experiences they need and deserve."

Investing in professional development for educators and administrators, setting up supports for struggling students and reinstituting programs that had been cut in recent years were among the options provided in a letter Rivera sent to the superintendents of all 500 districts in March to ensure the education funding proposed in Wolf's 2015-2016 budget is spent directly on students in the classrooms, while providing administrators flexibility to invest in programs most needed in their schools.

In the letter, Rivera called on districts to submit plans to ensure this new investment reaches the classroom and to measure results for Pennsylvania's students. Ninety-six percent of Pennsylvania school districts across the commonwealth submitted funding impact plans to the state Department of Education, outlining how the governor's proposed $400 million basic education funding increase will be invested directly in classrooms.

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

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education