MCKEESPORT, Pa., July 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera continued his "Schools That Teach" tour today in Allegheny County, where he sat down for a discussion with teachers, administrators and school board members in the McKeesport Area School District to discuss the need for the increased school funding generated through Governor Tom Wolf's proposed severance tax on gas drilling.
"Like so many districts, McKeesport Area has felt the harmful effects of decreased classroom funding that has occurred in the past several years and has resulted in the administration and faculty being asked to do more with less," Rivera said. "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 early learning programs, reduce class sizes in elementary grades, and provide career and college counselors for students in middle and high school through Governor Wolf's proposed funding increases.
"Despite our challenges, McKeesport Area continues to offer programs to help our students succeed," McKeesport Area School District Superintendent Dr. Rula Skezas said. "With the new funding proposed by Governor Wolf, we would be able to expand high-quality early education and reduce our class sizes, that have grown over the past several years, to better prepare our graduates to be college- and career-ready."
Investing in high-quality early childhood programs, and providing students with career and college counselors were among the options provided in a letter Rivera sent to the superintendents of all 500 districts in March.
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