Erie House Democrats, leader hail efforts to secure Erie school funding

Harkins, Bizzarro and Fabrizio went to bat for recurring $14 million supplement

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – Erie County’s Democratic delegation to the state House of Representatives today lauded the collective efforts that secured an additional $14 million for the cash-strapped Erie School District.

“The money is critical to the Erie School District getting its fiscal house in order and sparing local taxpayers from astronomical property tax increases,” said state Rep. Pat Harkins. “The Erie delegation pulled together over many months to achieve this victory for taxpayers and students.”

“We’ve succeeded in putting together a cogent plan to put Erie schools on more secure footing,” said state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro. “The district’s future looks far brighter than it did a year ago.”

State Rep. Flo Fabrizio, dean of the local House delegation, said the House on Tuesday approved the Fiscal Code, H.B. 674, which maintains the bolstered funding for the district in future budgets.

“A one-time shot of needed funding would not have addressed all of the harms created from the severe cuts made to public education earlier this decade,” Fabrizio said. “We’re gratified that responsible funding is heading to Erie schools this year and going forward.”

The trio said the Fiscal Code allotting the supplement faced a perilous journey during the almost four-month budget standoff since the spending portion of state budget was approved on June 30.

“We confronted ideologues, funding gimmicks and anti-worker provisions along the way,” Harkins said. “We didn’t win every battle, but the $14 million continuing supplement is a solid win for public education in Erie County.”

"Securing the additional funding for Erie Public Schools would not have gotten done without the tenacious efforts put forth by the three Democratic members of the Erie House delegation,” said Minority Leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny County. “I was continually impressed by their effective teamwork that achieved not just more money this year but also sets a higher funding base to benefit Erie schools in future years."