EVERETT, Pa., July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera continued his "Schools That Teach" tour today in Bedford County, where he sat down for a discussion with teachers, administrators and school board members in the Everett Area School District to discuss the need for the increased school funding generated through Governor Tom Wolf's proposed severance tax on gas drilling.
"As Secretary of Education, I have had the opportunity to travel the commonwealth, meeting with school administrators and educators, and it is clear that the need for additional funding is an issue that affects all of Pennsylvania," Rivera said. "The reductions in classroom funding over the last several years have hit urban, suburban and rural districts, like the Everett Area School District. This is why Governor Wolf's proposed $1 billion investment in education is so desperately needed and would benefit every school district in the state."
Since 2012, the Everett Area School District has seen $1.9 million cut from its budget and, as a result, has laid off 14 percent of its teaching staff and 12 percent of the district's support staff.
"The impact of the reductions in funding that we have experienced over the past several years is far-reaching and has resulted in cuts to our faculty, increased class sizes and a shortage of resources for our classrooms," Everett Area School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Webb said. "The dedicated members of our staff are taking on multiple roles just so we can maintain the high level of learning our students deserve and are accustomed to, but without additional funding we do not have the resources to grow."
During the roundtable discussion, Secretary Rivera heard from administrators and staff about how the district plans to invest in high quality early childhood programs through Governor Wolf's proposed funding increases.
Investing in high-quality early childhood programs was 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