Harkins, Merski announce $500,000 grant to Erie City School District

Ready to Learn block grant will help strengthen curriculum

ERIE, March 17 – The Erie City School District is receiving $500,000 in new state funding, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the Ready to Learn block grant will help the historically underfunded district shore up academic resources.

“The new funding will help get critical resources into the hands of students and teachers,” Harkins said. “For decades, Erie City School District has been severely underfunded, in some cases operating with several thousand dollars less per student than other districts around the state.

“We fought hard to get $14 million in recurring aid that is helping the district exit financial watch status and for level-up funding that is helping to level the playing field somewhat. But until fair funding is applied across the board – to every education dollar allocated – our students are still getting shortchanged.

“A state court is finally reviewing the issue, and the right decision could right the tables once and for all. But until that happens, the district can use every dollar in additional funding it can get.”

Merski said that the grant can be used to address a broad range of needs.

“Ready to Learn grants are especially helpful because districts can use the funding to create or expand academics, reduce class size, build STEM skills, and strengthen other resources that go to the heart of improving student outcomes,” Merski said. “Our school district can use those resources immediately.”

Ready to Learn Block Grants are designed to enhance learning opportunities for students and provide resources for schools to innovate at the local level. Among other things, they can be used for establishing, maintaining or expanding pre- or full-day kindergarten; reducing class size; improving academic performance and outcomes in STEM classes; providing tutoring and math and literacy coaching programs; and promoting career awareness.

More about the grants, including a full list of uses, is available here: https://www.education.pa.gov/Teachers%20-%20Administrators/School%20Finances/Pages/Ready-to-Learn%20Block%20Grant.aspx