FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Eugene DePasquale
DePasquale, Schwank unveil "PAGE" legislation
Bill would aid at-need school districts using proven programs
HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, unveiled legislation at a news conference today aimed to target struggling school districts and supply them with proven, effective programs.
"We watched – and fought against – Governor Corbett slash funding for all of our schools last year," DePasquale said. "The governor has already been quoted as saying he doesn't expect this year's budget to look much different – and that means we need to find our own ways to help support our neediest school districts using proven, effective programs and the resources to fund them."
DePasquale's legislation, known as the Priority Assistance Grant for Education (PAGE) program, would direct a total of $30 million to 18 school districts that are in academic or financial distress. The eligible school districts would use those funds to pay for a range of proven, research-based programs such as full-day kindergarten, class size reductions, or tutoring initiatives. The impact of the funds would be monitored by a state commission.
The 18 targeted school districts include: Harrisburg City, Steelton-Highspire, York City, Lancaster, Lebanon, Clairton City, McKeesport Area, Sto-Rox, Woodland Hills, Aliquippa, Reading, Greater Johnstown, Chester-Upland, Erie City, Albert Gallatin Area, Allentown City, Farrell Area and Norristown Area school districts.
DePasquale said the bill also has bicameral support. Sen. Judy Schwank is introducing identical legislation in the state Senate.
"I don't believe in simply throwing money at a problem; however, you can't improve struggling schools by cutting their funding, either," DePasquale said. "Through this plan, the resources go to fund programs that have already been tested and proven to work for students. This isn't a guessing game; it uses effective programs for schools and students who need it most."