Following First Budget Address, Governor Wolf Makes ‘Schools That Teach Tour’ Stop in Berks County

March 04, 2015

Hamburg, PA – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf today made his first pair of school visits since delivering his 2015-2016 budget, which makes historic investments in public education. 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 while cutting property taxes by 50 percent for the average homeowner.

Governor Wolf spent the afternoon with students, teachers and administrators at Hamburg Area High School, following a morning stop at Downingtown STEM Academy High School in Chester County. The Governor’s budget will restore over $780,000 in funding to the Hamburg Area School District. It will also provide the Hamburg Area School District with an allocation of $5.8 million in property tax reductions.

“Over 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. Pennsylvania is the only state that currently does not impose a severance tax on drillers.

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.

“We must ensure that all tax dollars going to our schools – traditional public schools, charter schools, and private schools – are being spent wisely and effectively,” Governor Wolf said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116

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