Governor Wolf Discusses the Impact of Funding Increases in Adams County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tour

May 22, 2015

New Oxford, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his “Schools That Teach” tour in Adams County, where he heard from teachers and administrators in the Conewago Valley School District about their plans to ensure that education funding from his 2015-16 budget goes directly into the classroom.

“Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom in the country in state funding for K through 12 education and my proposed budget makes historic investments at all levels – early childhood education through higher education,” said Governor Wolf. “After years of funding cuts that resulted in the loss of educators, increased class sizes, and cuts to valuable programs, I want to ensure that the new funding in my budget reaches the classroom and directly impacts student achievement. Focusing on education will allow us to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.”

Governor Wolf’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. 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.

In a roundtable discussion at New Oxford High School, Governor Wolf heard from school leaders and stakeholders about their plans to use this increase in funding to preserve programs like full-day kindergarten.

“This is an important opportunity for districts to have comprehensive conversations about how to invest this funding on proven resources and programs that will improve student learning,” Governor Wolf said. “What is being proposed here in the Conewago Valley School District is a prime example of a plan that will ensure this historic education investment reaches the classroom while providing clear benchmarks to measure the results of student achievement.”

“Every year when we look at our budget, unfortunately we have to look at personnel. You can only cut so many pencils and paper. We have to seriously look at what we can eliminate and those are very difficult decisions to make because they impact our students,” Conewago Valley School District Superintendent Russell Greenholt said. “If we can get some help from the Governor’s plan and a get a fair funding formula, that’s going to be a welcome change for us because we won’t have to worry about slashing programs, like full-day kindergarten, or cutting teachers.”

In March, Department of Education Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera sent a letter to superintendents in all 500 districts detailing accountability measures to ensure the education funding proposed in Governor Wolf’s 2015-2016 budget is spent directly on students in the classroom to allow them to compete in a modern economy. In the letter, Acting Secretary Rivera called on districts to submit plans to ensure this new investment reaches the classroom and to measure results for Pennsylvania’s students.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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