Erie School District recovery plan lies in the hands of the state

Local News

ERIE, Pa. — Erie School District’s $31.8 million recovery plan is now in the hands of state lawmakers. The question is: How much of the requested money will make it to Erie?

They’re calling this Erie’s wish list.

And while $31.8 million is a large chunk of change, elected officials point out that the district would have had to ask for $54 million just to have average state funding. Erie School District’s recovery plan is now in the hands of Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera.

As budget season approached, local officials have the tough sell of convincing everyone in Harrisburg that Erie needs this money.

Senator-elect Dan Laughlin plans to invite Rivera and Gov. Tom Wolf to Erie to tour the schools. Laughlin is hopeful that they’ll be more likely to support the plan if they visit.

“Maybe we are not going to get the $31 million, but I believe that we can get enough to really help them out of this tough spot,” Laughlin said.

Rep. Pat Harkins said state lawmakers need to come up with a formula that would fund Erie and the eight other districts in bad financial shape.

“If they wouldn’t approve it, I think you would see Erie School District going to insolvency,” Harkins said.

Both Harkins and Laughlin agree Superintendent Jay Badams has already made all of the tough cuts, cutting even more than the other districts already in recovery.

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