First Lady Frances Wolf Discusses Need for Increased Investment in Public Education on Johnstown “Schools that Teach” Tour Stop

May 21, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania’s First Lady Frances Wolf today continued the “Schools that Teach” tour, where she heard from teachers and administrators from the Greater Johnstown School District at West Side Elementary School about the challenges they have experienced as a result of cuts to education funding. During a roundtable discussion, the First Lady highlighted how the historic investments in public education in Governor Wolf’s 2015-2016 budget will reverse that trend and better prepare students for college and the workforce.

“Education is at the core of everything we want to achieve as a state,” said Mrs. Wolf. “A great public education system will help Pennsylvania attract new businesses, retain talent, and grow the middle class. This administration is committed to making that a reality by investing in our public schools and giving our students and teachers the resources they need to succeed.”

The Governor’s budget proposal restores massive cuts made over the last four years, with a commitment to increase school funding by $2 billion over four years by instituting a commonsense severance tax on oil and natural gas. Greater Johnstown School District schools would see over $1.2 million in additional funding in the first year alone. The Governor and First Lady have visited more than two dozen schools over the last few months to discuss this historic investment plan for education.

Governor Wolf’s proposal, called the Pennsylvania Education Reinvestment Act, is expected to generate over a billion dollars by 2017 by enacting a reasonable 5% severance tax plus 4.7 cents per thousand feet of volume on natural gas extraction. It will follow a similar structure to neighboring West Virginia, and will include the existing impact fee. His plan will also cut property taxes by 50 percent for the average homeowner.

The Governor’s budget will increase the state’s share of funding for public education to 50% for the first time in at least four decades, while creating new accountability measures requiring schools to demonstrate they are preparing students for success.

Learn more about Governor Wolf’s commitment to public education through his 2015-2016 budget.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Mead – 717-805-1779

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