After months of debate, the PA House of Representatives approves the state budget. The Erie School District gets a slice of the funds, but now, we’re hearing from local representatives who say it’s a snub to the ESD.
Brian Polito, Superintendent of the Erie School District says, “that money was really to balance our budget for this fiscal year and also to remove some of the deficit that we had in the previous years.”
The bill grants Erie’s Public Schools $14 million to get ahead of its severe financial crisis. Representatives say the hard work and persistence of local leaders caught attention in Harrisburg.
But, not all were on board with Erie receiving the funds. Representative Curt Sonney (R) 4th District tells us, they have “a lot of house members that have school districts that are in the same or worse shape than the Erie School District, so they’re very, very fortunate, actually, to be able to receive the $14 million.”
While these funds help bridge the gap in this year’s budget, it will not be cyclical, which is what the Erie School District had originally hoped. So, administrators are already thinking ahead for the following years. “We were always hopeful that it would be recurring money and we really do need that in order to continue our recovery and move towards fiscal solvency,” says Polito.
The amendment to the bill cuts out language providing the district with these funds on an annual basis. Representative Pat Harkins (D) 1st District said in a written statement, “with the passage of an unrealistic and unsustainable budget, we remain committed to making sure that the ESD receives the funding that it needs to succeed and educate our students.” He says all the democratic leaders stand together and will fight for the continued funds.
JACKIE ROBERTS, JET 24 ACTION NEWS