Merski, Harkins: Erie County schools expected to receive more than $115 million to defray pandemic expenses, keep students learning

ERIE, March 29 – Erie school districts and charter schools are expected to receive a combined $115.1 million in federal funding to ensure services and safety measures are in place as more students return to the classroom, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today.

 The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will address a wide range of needs, from restoring gaps in learning during the pandemic to fulfilling the need for new supplies and materials.

“The pandemic strained school budgets, tested the limits of online learning and left educators and school officials with a litany of new challenges,” said Merski. “This funding will allow schools to allocate resources where they are most needed to ensure programs can address gaps in learning, replenish shrinking supplies and guarantee the resources needed to ensure a safe and successful return to the classroom.”

Harkins said, “Securing this funding is going to help ensure that our school buildings are safe, students are well supported and teachers and other staff have the resources needed to make our way back to traditional classroom learning without leaving anyone behind.”

The lawmakers said schools in Erie’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Legislative Districts will receive the following:

  • Erie City School District – $60.7 million.
  • Fort LeBoeuf School District – $3.5 million.
  • Millcreek Township School District – $9.4 million.
  • ERIE RISE Leadership Academy Charter School – $2 million.
  • Iroquois School District – $2.8 million.
  • Perseus House Charter School of Excellence – $2.7 million.
  • Montessori Regional Charter School – $2.1 million
  • Robert Benjamin Wiley Charter School – $2.4 million.
  • General McLane -- $2.5 million

In addition, the following additional schools in Erie County – including the Corry Area, Fairview, Girard, Harbor Creek, North East, Northwestern, Union City Area, and Wattsburg Area – will receive a combined $27 million.

The funding is provided by the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden. It includes nearly $5 billion in federal relief funds to help Pre-K to 12 schools return students to classroom learning and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most. At least 90 percent, or $4.5 billion, of the funds will flow to traditional public school districts and charter schools. Each entity will receive an amount proportional to the federal Title I-A funds received in 2020 under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The school districts and charter schools must use at least 20 percent of this money to address learning loss and the social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

Schools can use the rest of the funding for a wide range of activities, including food service; professional training; technology purchases; sanitization and cleaning supplies; summer and after-school programs; and mental health supports. More about the funding is available here.