Pennsylvania Democrats have fired back at Sen. Scott Wagner over comments he made regarding the Erie School District this week.
During an education hearing in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Wagner, R-York, bluntly described the Erie School District. Wagner called buildings within the Erie School District “disgusting” and said he’s “never seen anything like it.”
Wagner directed his comments toward Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera, who last week denied the district’s $31.8 million recovery plan.
Wagner said during his January visit to Erie, he toured Central Tech and Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy. Wagner illustrated a bleak picture inside the buildings, characterizing the basement of Central Tech as “Baghdad” and said it appeared a pool in one school has been abandoned for more than 20 years.
Wagner asked Rivera if he has ever seen the condition of the buildings in Erie, with Rivera saying he has not and is scheduled to visit Erie in the coming months.
In a statement on Thursday, Sinceré Harris, executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, said Wagner is partly to blame for Erie’s condition.
“Ultimate Harrisburg-insider Scott Wagner is the most anti-education senator in Pennsylvania and he cannot ignore his own record on Erie Schools,” Harris said in the statement. “The Erie School District is still reeling from the devastating cuts to schools that Scott Wagner supports, and his policies will only take us backward. In the last two years, Wagner has voted against more funding for the Erie School District multiple times.”
The statement highlighted two occasions in which Wagner voted against education funding. Once in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Wagner, a 61-year-old businessman, announced in January that he will run for Pennsylvania governor in 2018.