House Bill 674 passed, providing the funding the Erie Schools have been pleading for, and not just once.

The Erie School District’s financial desperation may soon be a part of the past.  A bill approved in the state house Tuesday evening includes a recurring $14 million increase in state funding.  Pennsylvania Senator Dan Laughlin (R) 49th District says, ” ya know, this is a game changer for the city of Erie and the city of Erie School District”.

Laughlin made the Erie School District financial crisis a priority during his 2016 campaign.  That crisis prompted the consolidation that combined three high schools into one and forced several more school closings.  A one-time $14 million payment was included in the state budget.  With that set to become annual, the district is crediting Laughlin and calling this a watershed moment for Erie’s Public Schools. 

Superintendent Brian Polito says, “We had truth on our side and we worked really hard to really get our message out… [to] make sure the people understood that without this funding there was no way we were going to be able to survive”.

Laughlin says, ” It was much-needed help and I know the city is going to be very appreciative of this, and the kids are gonna get a great education in Erie now”. 

Both Laughlin and the district also credit senate and house leaders, as well as the local house delegation.  The bill passed the senate Monday 41-9 and the house vote was 109-75.  It now goes to Governor Tom Wolf for his signature. 

Every house member from Erie County:  Democrats Ryan Bizzarro, Flo Fabrizio and Pat Harkins, as well as Republican Curt Sonney voted in favor of the bill. 

–Shawn Lafferty