Governor Wolf’s “Schools That Teach Tour” stops in Exeter, Luzerne County

March 13, 2015

Exeter, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf continued his “Schools That Teach Tour,” at Wyoming Area Secondary Center where he discussed the historic public education investments in his 2015-2016 budget. The Governor’s 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. His plan will also cut property taxes by 50 percent for the average homeowner.

Governor Wolf spent the morning with students, teachers and administrators at Wyoming Area Secondary Center in Exeter. The Governor’s budget proposes a $518,251 increase in funding to the Wyoming Area School District. It will also provide the district with an allocation of more than $5 million in property tax relief. The Governor has visited more than a dozen schools and colleges promoting his historic investment plan for education.

“During the past four years, Pennsylvania took a step in the wrong direction by trying to balance our state budget on the backs of our schools,” Governor Wolf said. “This is not a formula for success. We can do a lot better. It’s just this simple: our state isn’t going to get stronger until we invest in our students.”

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.

“We are the only natural gas-producing state that does not impose a severance tax,” Governor Wolf said. “We can get Pennsylvania back on track, starting with a commonsense severance tax that will help fund our schools – an idea with bipartisan support.”

But the Governor said righting past wrongs is not enough, so he will not stop there.

“We can’t, because the way things were before is not good enough,” Governor Wolf said. “For too long, we haven’t paid enough attention to the fact that Pennsylvania ranks near the bottom of the country in state investments in K-12 education. We need to change that. My plan increases our investment in public schools at every grade level.”

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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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