Governor Wolf & First Lady Discuss the Impact of Funding Increases in Bucks County during “Schools that Teach” Roundtable and Tour

June 11, 2015

Doylestown, PA – Governor Tom Wolf, joined today by First Lady Frances Wolf, continued their “Schools That Teach” tour in Bucks County, where they heard from teachers and administrators in the Central Bucks School District about why it’s important to pass a commonsense severance tax to fund our schools.

“The status quo is unacceptable. The people of Pennsylvania are tired of Harrisburg politicians doing the same thing over and over. It’s time to give our schools the funding they deserve with a commonsense severance tax and legislators opposed to that idea are putting the special interests of gas drillers over our children,” said Governor Wolf. “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,”

Governor Wolf has three simple priorities to move Pennsylvania forward: fund schools with a commonsense severance tax, eliminate the structural deficit without gimmicks, and reduce property taxes for middle-class families and seniors. His 2015-2016 budget 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 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 Central Bucks East High School, Governor Wolf heard from school leaders and stakeholders about the district’s plan to implement a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) class for all students in grades 1-6.

“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 Central Bucks 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.”

“The purpose of this STEM class is to enrich students’ authentic learning experiences by building their skills in collaboration, critical and creative thinking, and communication to solve real world problems,” Central Bucks School District superintendent Dr. David Weitzel said. “We are excited about the implementation of this program, thanks to Governor Wolf’s investment in public education, and the opportunities this increase in funding will provide our elementary students this coming year.”

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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