Erie’s Public Schools has made history as the first school district in the state to be removed from the Financial Watch list after years of budget woes.

It was a room full of smiles and relief as the Erie School District was officially removed from the Financial Watch list it was put on in 2016.

Erie’s Public Schools has become the first school district to successfully get off the Financial Watch list. An achievement big enough that Governor Tom Wolf came to Erie to handle the announcement himself.

“Erie can and will serve as a model to school districts all across Pennsylvania for how you come out of the toughest situation that you are in,” said Governor Tom Wolf, D, Pennsylvania.

Since 2016, the school district was forced to make decisions like cutting hundreds of jobs and closing schools.

“The initial fusion of $14 million really helped us stabilize our finances. And most recently, the last two years of increased investment from Governor Wolf have really helped us move forward. Now we can really think about the future and investing in our students,” said Brian Polito, superintendent, Erie’s Public Schools.

After years of focusing on finances, the district can now turn its attention to education and the curriculum.

“We invested a lot in curriculum and professional development over the last couple of years, student supports. We’re really looking forward to continuing to implement those initiatives so that we can start moving our kids forward and helping them succeed,” said Polito.

Gov. Wolf said the district’s leadership played a huge role in getting off the list.

“The kind of leadership and the support that has existed here in Erie, this is a really great thing that has happened here. And to the extent that we can replicate this and the other school districts that are in the same situation, they’ll also see success,” said Gov. Wolf.

Since Erie’s Public Schools is now off the list, eight districts remain on the list.