Efforts championed by Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) to lock in a recurring $14 million increase in state funding for the Erie School District could soon payoff as legislation securing the funding is headed to the Governor’s desk for enactment into law.
At Senator Laughlin’s request, the Erie School District was allocated $14 million in Educational Access Program Funding as a one-time, one-year expenditure in the Fiscal Year 2017-18 state spending plan that was enacted in July.
“This is a game changer for the City of Erie and the City of Erie School District,” said Senator Laughlin. “It is much needed help and I know the city is going to be very appreciative of this. The kids are going to get a great education in Erie now.”
Senator Laughlin thanked his colleagues for recognizing Erie’s financial crisis and stepping up to provide needed funding to ensure the district’s students receive the quality education they deserve.
“It takes more than one person to get a job like this done,” Senator Laughlin said. “Having the help of Senate leadership, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Pat Browne, played a big role in helping me to get this done and I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the Senate as well.”
Senator Laughlin also lauded the efforts by former Erie School District Superintendent Jay Badams, current Superintendent Brian Polito, Erie School Board President Frank Petrungar Jr., school board members, school district staff and administrators as well as students and their families.
“They did a great job. Obviously, there was – and still is – a real sense of urgency. But this financial crisis galvanized the community and you could see there was never a willingness to just give up. I am truly proud to have worked with all these people, here and in Harrisburg, to see the state make this commitment to Erie’s children and our future,” Senator Laughlin said.
Erie School District welcomed the news that legislation locking in the recurring state funding was headed to the Governor.
“This is obviously a transformational moment for Erie’s Public Schools. Our students deserve the highest level of educational resources and opportunities and we are grateful to our state legislators for their commitment to this work,” said Petrungar. “This has truly been a community-wide effort. The board and staff of Erie’s Public Schools identified our funding challenges nearly two years ago and have collaborated with our local and state officials to educate them about our need for additional state aid. We are extremely grateful to Senator Laughlin for taking this issue on as his personal mission and working tirelessly on our behalf to secure the additional resources our students need.”
“I am so grateful that we have been given this opportunity to show what our students and our district can accomplish with appropriate funding. For the first time in many years, Erie’s Public Schools will be financially stable and have the ability to focus on the critical work of improving achievement for all students,” said Polito. “This funding increase is transformational for the district and will allow us to begin a new chapter in the history of Erie’s Public Schools. We believe it also represents a turning point for our entire city and demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together. We are grateful to our school communities, our staff and the entire region for supporting us throughout our efforts over the past two years. We want them to know that this is a new day for Erie’s Public Schools and we look forward to working with them to serve the 11,000 students of our city in the years to come.”
Matt Azeles – Senator Laughlin (717) 787-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Daria Devlin – Erie School District (814) 460-5387 or email@example.com