A letter to Pennsylvania superintendents from acting education Secretary Pedro Rivera describes how the state wants school districts to use proposed additional funds in classrooms.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget would increase basic education funding by $400 million, the letter says, and Wolf’s proposal includes two accountability measures for using it.
All districts will be required to use “a portion of their basic education funding increase that exceeds the inflation-based index” for evidence based programs such as: early childhood education programs like pre-kindergarten, summer learning programs, additional instructional time, smaller early elementary classes, hybrid learning options, and more.
Wolf also wants to see the effectiveness of the additional investments, the letter says, so districts will choose benchmarks for that purpose. Those could include looking at the percentage of additional students able to read on grade level by the end of third grade, progress in closing the achievement gap, improvements in high school graduation and dropout rates and more.
The letter says they should submit plans mid-May.
Read the full letter below.
Update: Senate Republicans issued a news release late today saying it is premature to mandate districts submit plans for the proposed funding.
“This latest political stunt by the Wolf Administration completely disregards the need for the legislative process,” Sen. Joe Scarnati said in the release. “Governor Wolf and his Administration are placing a significant burden on our school officials by mandating that they complete these reports for funding, which has not been vetted by the Legislature.”