Wolf highlights plans to close funding gaps for state’s underfunded school districts

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During a stop at Edgar Fahs Smith STEAM Academy in York City on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Wolf discussed the state’s increase in education funding that would close the funding gap for the 100 most underfunded school districts in the state.

The state’s recently passed budget included a $416 million increase in education funding, including a $100 million Level Up initiative to close the funding gap for underfunded schools. York City School District will receive $6.5 million in increased state funding for the 2021-2022 school year, including $3.3 million in Level Up support, the fourth-highest amount in the state.

“This is an important first step in fulfilling our commitment to schools, students, and teachers,” Wolf said. “It’s a step toward calming the worries of parents hoping for a brighter future for their kids. It’s a step toward helping students chasing big dreams. And it’s a step toward supporting the teachers, administrators, and education programs our commonwealth needs.”

The Level Up program is designed to close the funding gap between the state’s wealthiest districts and its poorest ones. Many districts have been forced to raise property taxes to adequately fund schools, creating a burden on homeowners. Level Up is designed to assist these cash-strapped districts so they can improve educational quality.

In York City School District, the Level Up funds will be used to support the district’s recovery plan and revisit research-based education programs that were eliminated due to budget cuts. Other school districts receiving Level Up funding include $2.4 million for Harrisburg School District; $2.2. million for the School District of Lancaster City; $360,000 for the Columbia Borough School District and Ephrata School District in Lancaster County; and $265,000 for the Shippensburg Area School District in Cumberland County.

“These funds will assist with reoccurring operational costs, including transportation and special programs,” said Superintendent Berry. “The district will be able to repurpose operational funds to accelerate learning and provide state of the art technology for students in our reimagined educational forum, among other future ready opportunities.”