Merski, Bizzarro Harkins: Nearly $190,000 to help students with special needs retain crucial skills during pandemic

ERIE, Aug. 20 – Funding of $189,895 to six area schools and districts will help ensure Erie students with special needs are not left behind during the pandemic, state Reps. Bob Merski, Pat Harkins and Ryan Bizzarro, all D-Erie, announced. 

“One of the most difficult aspects of the pandemic from a learning standpoint has been the loss of classroom learning,” Merski said. “All students benefit from in-person instruction, but for students with special needs, specifically designed instruction can be essential. This funding will help provide those extra services to ensure students with special needs don’t fall behind and are prepared to tackle the new year with skills intact.” 

 “Our exceptionally dedicated teachers and special education staff are doing what they can to ensure students with special needs don’t fall behind during the pandemic,” Bizzarro said. “Nevertheless, gaps in classroom learning have posed special challenges requiring additional resources. This funding is going to put those resources into educators’ hands so they are able to supplement remote learning with real-time instruction and ensure vulnerable students continue to thrive.” 

“Inclusion is the key to ensuring our next generation is equipped to face the future and step into good-paying jobs,” Harkins said. “But that means giving all of our students an equal opportunity to advance. When kids get left behind, our entire community suffers. This funding is going to help level the playing field and ensure no student gets left behind because of the pandemic.” 

The funding includes:

Erie City School District - $112,608.
Millcreek Township School District - $28,990.
General McLane School District - $15,207.
Iroquois School District - $13,636.
Fort Le Boeuf School District - $13,454.

Perseus House Charter School of Excellence - $5,000.
Erie Rise Leadership Academy Charter School - $1,000.

The funding is part of a package of $20 million to 678 local school districts and other local education agencies. The sources include $15 million in Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding and $5 million from the Department of Education’s federal funding through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. More information about the funding is available here