The Scranton School Board was pleased to learn this week at a press conference held by Senator John Blake that the Scranton School District will receive a $6 million dollar Supplemental Ready to Learn Block Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The funds will be dispersed in two installments; $3 million dollars will be paid to the District in January, the remaining funds will be paid in June. This revenue will help to fund educational programs in the 2019 budget. In his remarks, Senator Blake acknowledged that these funds are the result of broad budget negotiations with the assistance of Senate leadership and the Wolf Administration.
At a meeting in Harrisburg on Wednesday, Secretary of Education, Pedro Rivera, reaffirmed the allocation of funds to District representatives Superintendent, Alexis T. Kirijan, School Board President, Barbara Dixon and Director Paul Duffy. Those present commended District Administration and the Board of Education on their continued efforts to correct past errors, mitigate operational issues, and find solutions that address financial concerns without undermining educational opportunities available to Scranton’s students.
Districts in Financial Watch Status that receive such grants must enter into a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The contract outlines the uses, reporting requirements and restrictions of the grant. A report must be submitted to the state twice during the year. A listing of acceptable uses is available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website and includes such initiatives as professional development opportunities aligned with academic standards to improve early literacy and STEM education grades Pre-K to Grade 3, establishing, maintaining or expanding a quality pre-kindergarten program aligned with the state’s current academic standards and establishing, expanding or maintaining hybrid-learning models. Though the District will continue its work with a technical advisor, PFM, PDE will provide support to ensure that funds are employed properly.
The Board thanks Governor Wolf and the Department of Education for allocating these funds to assist as the District seeks to improve its financial situation while maintaining the exceptional level of education offered to its over 10,000 students. The Board remains especially grateful to local legislators Senator John Blake and Representative Marty Flynn, who has worked with their colleagues in Harrisburg to advocate for Scranton’s children and taxpayers.
The Scranton School Board looks forward to continuing to work with Superintendent Kirijan, the District Administration, the Scranton Federation of Teachers, the SEIU 32BJ and all stakeholders to pursue various funding opportunities and most importantly to secure an equitable, reliable per pupil subsidy for our District.