Lawmaker urges $30 million grant for Pa.’s neediest school districts

    A Pennsylvania lawmaker is proposing a financial lifeline for more than a dozen of the state’s poorest school districts — including Chester-Upland in Delaware County and the Norristown Area district in Montgomery County.

    Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, said his legislation would spread $30 million in grants among the 18 districts in the most severe financial distress.

    The proposal, he said, is similar to an existing school district grant program, except it targets needy districts. It could be financed with any revenue that comes from the as-yet nonexistent Marcellus Shale impact fee, DePasquale suggested.

    “We need that revenue stream. I mean, if not, you’re going to be looking at cuts in other programs,” he said.

    “And let’s call it like we see it. There is one part of the budget that has been increasing in the last six years, and that’s corrections. I mean we’re building four new prisons across Pennsylvania,” De Pasquale continued.

    State education budget cuts last year hit the neediest school districts the hardest.

    The Chester Upland School District would be one of the schools on the list to receive the state grant. The struggling district received a few million dollars in emergency funding from the state following a federal ruling last month.

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