Rivera: Chronic Underfunding Continues to Have Negative Impact on Pa. Classrooms

Ceu0StRW8AAo3hj.jpg-largeHARRISBURG, Pa. – Yesterday during a “Schools That Teach” tour stop, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera met with officials at Boiling Springs High School to talk about the need for a robust state investment for Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts and other educational institutions.

“Chronic underfunding for several years continues to have a negative impact on classrooms across the commonwealth,” Rivera said. “In order to meet their critical mission of educating our students, schools need a significant investment. Pennsylvania is facing two paths: fund our schools and fix the deficit or see additional damaging cuts to education. We can’t leave our schools behind; we must choose the path that provides the needed resources for schools without the reliance on property tax increases.”

Monday’s visit to South Middleton School District is the most recent stop on the Schools That Teach tour. Rivera has also made stops at Career and Technical Centers (CTCs) and colleges to discuss the 2016-17 budget proposal that Governor Tom Wolf unveiled in February.

The 2016-17 budget plan includes a $200 million increase to basic education funding (BEF) that would be distributed using the Fair Funding Formula created and unanimously adopted by the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission in June 2015. The BEF investment would represent a 3.3 percent increase, and would be in addition to the $377 million increase included in December’s 2015-2016 bipartisan budget compromise. That agreement was supported by bipartisan majorities in both chambers before Republican House leaders failed to hold a final vote.

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

During the visit, Rivera heard from school administrators, teachers, and administrators, who shared challenges the district has encountered as a result of the reductions in funding beginning in 2011.

“It is an honor and a pleasure to host the Secretary of Education at South Middleton School District. I am especially appreciative of the new culture that Secretary Rivera has created at the Pennsylvania Department of Education.,” said Superintendent Dr. Alan Moyer. “He and his team value our input and sincerely want to support education across the commonwealth. We enjoyed the conversation with him this afternoon and showcasing some excellent instruction in our classrooms.”

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