Harkins, Merski: Nearly $8.7 million to Erie schools to support continued learning during pandemic

ERIE, May 7 – Area school districts will receive approximately $8.68 million in federal funding under the CARES Act to ensure students have the resources they need to continue learning during the pandemic, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the funding to five school districts and their schools will be key to helping develop and deliver ongoing education and supports.

“Like every aspect of life, our kids’ education came to a standstill during pandemic,” Merski said. “It was reassuring to see our dedicated teachers return to the job eager to provide online and remote lessons. But revamping the system to offer the maximum benefit requires planning, purchasing, student supports and a host of other resources.

“Securing this funding will not only help get the framework in place, it will ensure that our Erie students have the resources they need to continue learning and thriving in this new environment, now and into the future.”

Harkins said, “Although remote learning can’t take the place of the rich classroom experience students receive with peers, it’s an essential substitute for times like these, when safety requires distancing. The funding on the way will ensure that our students remain safe and have the equipment and other resources they need to succeed, regardless of household income.”

The lawmakers said districts will receive the following funding:

  • Erie City School District – $6.76 million
  • Fort LeBoeuf School District – $386,535
  • Millcreek Township School District – $1.05 million
  • ERIE RISE Leadership Academy Charter School – $216,089
  • Iroquois School District – $263,290

The money comes from the Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund under the CARES Act and may be used for maintaining continuity of education and services, mental health supports, planning and coordination, purchasing technology, addressing unique needs of vulnerable populations, summer learning or after school programming, and sanitizing supplies. 

School districts and charter schools must apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education to obtain their allocated funds. Once the U.S. Department of Education approves the state application, which is expected to happen within one week, PDE will post a streamlined application for districts and charter schools to use.

The CARES Act directs $471.4 million to Pennsylvania school districts and charter schools in amounts proportionate to their share of Title I-A funds.

Additional information about the funding is available