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

May 27, 2015

Pocono Summit, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his “Schools That Teach” tour in Monroe County, where he heard from teachers and administrators in the Pocono Mountain 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 Pocono Mountain West Junior High School, Governor Wolf heard from school leaders and stakeholders about their plans to improve the district’s instructional technology training programs to diversify students’ opportunities to learn 21st century skills.

“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 Pocono Mountain 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.”

“If additional state funding is made available, the district plans to add four instructional technology coaches, two to work with students in grades K through 5 and two to work with students in grades 7 through 12, to provide direct instruction to students on the use of technology,” said Pocono Mountain School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Robison. “Our district believes that with additional resources and opportunities, we can work toward preparing our diverse population of learners for the 21st Century. It is also important for our district to increase the amount of students who are proficient in reading by third grade. Closing the achievement gap is a continued goal for us each year. This funding opportunity will directly assist with helping to achieve this goal.”

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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