Today marks a huge win for Erie’s Public Schools. The House has passed House Bill 674, which means a recurring $14 million for the Erie School District.
Superintendent Brian Polito says, “our district will finally receive the education funding that it needs to attain long-term financial stability and focus on the future of our schools and students.”
State Representative Pat Harkins says, “The money is critical to the Erie School District getting its fiscal house in order and sparing local taxpayers from astronomical property tax increases… The Erie delegation pulled together over many months to achieve this victory for taxpayers and students”.
This comes as a huge win for the area after a tedious four-month battle for funding since the state budget was approved on June 30th, $2 billion over budget. “We confronted ideologues, funding gimmicks and anti-worker provisions along the way,” says Harkins. “We didn’t win every battle, but the $14 million continuing supplement is a solid win for public education in Erie County.” Senator Dan Laughlin led the charge. In July, at Laughlin’s request, the Erie School District was awarded a one-time $14 million expenditure.
“Today is a watershed moment for Erie’s Public Schools,” says Polito. “It marks the beginning of a stable financial future and allows us to focus on the critical work of increasing the academic achievement of the students of our city. The additional funding provided by the Commonwealth will eliminate our structural deficit and allow us to begin planning for essential improvements to our facilities and curriculum – both of which have been decimated by years of fiscal crisis.”
Many people in the community fought for Erie’s children to receive a better education through additional funding. Erie School Board President, Frank Petrungar Jr. says, “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…”
And, all individuals involved are thanking Senator Dan Laughlin for the long hours and dedication to pushing the approval for this necessary funding. In the video above, Laughlin thanks his collegues in return to helping our kids get the education they deserve.
“We look forward to beginning this next chapter in the history of our district and are humbled by the efforts of so many who have made this work possible,” says Polito. “Together, we can and will improve the eduational outcomes of Erie’s students and, through this work, ensure a bright future for our entire community.”