Governor Wolf Speaks to Young Leaders During “Schools That Teach Tour” Stop in Lebanon

March 27, 2015

Lebanon, PA – Governor Tom Wolf continued his “Schools That Teach Tour” today in Lebanon, where he spoke to young leaders about the importance of their commitment to service. He also stressed how his 2015-2016 budget makes historic public education investments and how it will help students prepare for college and the workforce.

“You are all here today because you are leaders in your classes, in your schools and in your communities,” Governor Wolf told the students. “And what you are talking about today – community involvement – really matters, and it is how I got involved in public service.  As my community involvement led me to public service, I increasingly saw a problem that directly affects you each and every day.”

“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 continued. “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 spent the morning with young leaders at the Pennsylvania District 8 Student Council Conference.  Cedar Crest High School is hosting this year’s District 8 Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils annual conference. Approximately 1,000 students and advisors were in attendance from districts throughout Central Pennsylvania.  This year’s theme is ‘Student Council CARES!” – which stands for community, attitude, responsibility, enthusiasm, and spirit. Student council members will spend the day attending different workshops that focus on improving communication skills, building motivation and school spirit, learning time management, running a school store, and engaging the community.

The Governor’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. His plan will also cut property taxes by 50 percent for the average homeowner. Governor Wolf has visited more than a dozen schools and colleges promoting his historic investment plan for education.

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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