Governor Douglas announces more than $3 million in economic development grants

first_imgA dairy processing plant in Brattleboro; a food processing center in Hardwick; a slaughterhouse in Westminster; and a Barre facility that recycles furniture and other goods for distribution to needy Vermonters were among more than $3 million in job creation grants announced today. At a ceremony at Recycle North s new facility in a former granite shed in Barre, Governor Jim Douglas announced the award of $3.3 million in Community Development Block Grants for those projects, as well as others. These grants are a great resource for companies, municipalities and organizations looking to grow and answer their unique challenges and needs, said Governor Douglas. I m pleased to honor each of these recipients today with grants that will help with planning, redevelopment, expansion, handicap accessibility and more. These recipients are very deserving of our support. All of today s recipients are making a positive and important contribution to our economy and our state s well-being. These projects will create jobs and opportunities, Governor Douglas continued. The town improvements being funded with these grants will put Vermonters to work and improve our communities. The specialty food products and opportunities being created and expanded with this money will help create jobs and give Vermonters a chance to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Access to meat and dairy processing equipment is essential to farmers, especially during this difficult economic time. And certainly access to affordable housing that is close to schools and services is something I ve been very supportive of.Today s grants were awarded to the following towns, businesses and organizations:$650,000 implementation grant to the Town of Hardwick to be sub-granted to Northern Enterprises for construction of the Vermont Food Venture Center 2, a multi-purpose food processing facility in the Hardwick Industrial Park. 19 jobs will be created of which 10 will be to individuals with low- to moderate- incomes.$648,000 grant to the Town of Westminster to be loaned to Vermont Meats to retrofit and equip an existing facility located on Back Westminster Road to be utilized as a meat and poultry slaughter and processing facility. 15 jobs will be created of which 12 will be available to low- and moderate- income individuals.$600,000 implementation grant to the Town of Brattleboro to be loaned to Commonwealth Yogurt to purchase specialized equipment for a Class II Dairy Processing facility. Using conventional, rBST free, and organic milk the facility will produce cultured products, primarily yogurt for private label retail and wholesale customers as well as co-pack production for major national brands. 25 jobs will be created of which 14 will be low- to moderate- income individuals.$590,000 grant to the Town of Randolph for Randolph Area Community Development Corp to rehabilitate the former Ethan Allen plant. This project called Salisbury Square redevelopment is a mixed use, mixed-income project that will include 22 homes, 14 rental units and 1200 square feet of office space on the blighted property adjacent to downtown.$300,000 grant to the Village of Swanton to be given as a deferred loan to Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont to construct 16 units of affordable rental housing known as Blake Commons. The vacant in-fill lot is situated near services, schools and recreation making it an ideal location for new housing.$294,820 grant to the City of Barre to be sub-granted to ReCycle North to purchase and renovate a historic granite shed in downtown Barre, cleanup contamination on the site, create classrooms and training spaces, and develop an efficient marketplace for reuse and processing areas to distribute goods to people in need. 10 jobs will be created of which 6 will be filled by low-to-moderate income individuals.$200,000 grant to the City of Montpelier to be sub-granted to Home Share of Central Vermont for service in Washington County and expanding into Orange and Lamoille Counties. This will allow Home Share to support 80 home share matches which will directly benefit 196 individuals.$30,000 planning grant to the Town of Hartford to be sub-granted to the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation to create a plan for the redevelopment of Prospect Street in White River Junction.$24,900 access modification grant to the Town of Randolph to provide accessibility to the Randolph Municipal Building and bring it into full ADA compliance with state and federal regulations.$20,000 planning grant to the Town of Brighton to develop a plan to integrate the Island Pond commercial downtown with Island Pond Lake front by re-designing and improving the existing 5-acre Lakeside Park.The Agency awards the competitive grants based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: is external)Source: Governor’s office, July 7, 2009last_img read more

Gear: Fall Fashion Must Haves

first_imgAs the days get shorter, the temperatures begin to drop and the trails become colored with falling leaves, it is time to transition your wardrobe to maintain comfort.  Below are a few of our favorite fall fashion items to help keep you feeling good and looking good on the trail as you continue to run, ride or hike all fall and winter long.Gear_smartwooljacketSmartwool Men’s Teller Jacket The Teller jacket combines a wind resistant front panel with an ultra-breathable merino wool back panel that is as soft as jersey knit cotton. The Teller is great to put on when you have finished a mountain bike climb and are preparing to descend. It also is a great choice for hiking since it keeps your core warm and protected from the wind, while allowing your heat to escape once you warm up.  The Teller jacket also transitions nicely to a casual piece when you are ready to go meet friends after a run or bike ride. Wish it came in more colors, but you are limited to green, blue or black.MSRP $160.00; smartwool.comGear_SmartwoolvestSmartwool PhD Smartloft Down VestThe Smartloft down vest is similar to the Teller jacket minus the sleeves.  It is more versatile and better suited for activities where you tend to work up a sweat and desire greater breathability and temperature regulation.  It too has a wind resistant front panel and breathable merino wool back.  The Smartloft is form fitting enough to allow you to comfortably bike or run in it.  The Smartloft vest is available in men’s and women’s cut and is fairly form-fitting compared to other vests.MSRP $170.00; smartwool.comGear_LorpenLorpen T3 Trail Running and Cycling SocksLorpen has once again raised the bar in sock technology.  Its motto, “to design and build the best technical socks in the world” is demonstrated through its continued innovation.  The T3 technology offers the utmost in breathability for both warm weather and cold weather.  Lorpen has designed a three-layer technology for winter socks and summer socks.  The winter T3 socks feature merino wool to help keep feet warm while maintaining breathability, while the summer line relies on Tencel and Coolmax for the utmost in breathability and cooling.  I tend to wear my trail and cycling T3 summer socks three seasons out of the year.  The T3 ski sock line is the best ski sock I have found in the marketplace in that it provides a warm and comfortable fit for all day outings in ski boots or hiking boots.  Lorpen socks have proven to hold up longer and retain less sediment than other merino socks on the market.MSRP $10.99-21.99; lorpennorthamerica.comlast_img read more

Bunny Hop Fail – Testing Armor-X’s Phone Case & Mounting Systems

first_img“But did you tell them you aren’t a phone guy?”This was a legitimate question from a good buddy of mine when I mentioned to him that the team at Armor-X was sending me a phone case and mounting system to try out on my mountain bike.Brent’s query was a good one. I am not a phone guy. I proudly toted around an iPhone 3 for years until, finally, it couldn’t keep up with the demands of the world wide web and the apps I wanted to use. I upgraded to an iPhone 6 and, applying the same sophisticated mathematical algorithm, might wait for an iPhone 12 before upgrading again.So, for sure, I am no techie phone guy. But, because I want to extend the life of each phone I get, I am most definitely a phone case guy. And, because I spend a lot of time on both my road bike and mountain bike, I am always looking for cases and mounting systems that protect the investment I have in my mobile technology.With Armor-X, I found a great one.Prior to getting their iPhone 6 case and mounting system, my phone could be found in my pocket when I was riding trails. Remaining upright and on the bike generally makes this a nonissue, but my mountain bike history is littered with crashes and spills, and I saw the usage of the Armor-X gear as a serious upgrade to my phone protection strategy.And I was right. All it took was a poorly executed bunny hop to prove it.I was recently riding the new trail system above Flag Rock, near Norton, Virginia, and was heading down a fire road I had cruised many times. Across the fire road lay a fallen tree of about six inches of diameter. I had crossed over this tree more times than I can count. I was feeling pretty froggy, moving down the fire road at a pretty good clip, when I had this thought . . . .I’m going to bunny hop that log.There is no good explanation as to why such silliness entered my head. None at all. I am 45 years old and haven’t really bunny hopped anything since I was a pre-teen. My single track time is generally marked by a relative sense of caution; I don’t mind going fast, but I try to avoid broken bones and what not at all cost.That bunny hop panned out exactly as you can imagine. Poor timing and not enough lift slammed my front wheel square into the log. I was catapulted over my handlebars, able to look up in mid-flight to see one foot still clipped to a pedal and my bike sailing over my head. I landed squarely on my left side, the wind bursting from my lungs, my bike landing a few feet beyond my body akimbo.I was bruised up a bit. Sore, for sure. Two days later, I could barely turn over in bed without gasping, and it was a couple weeks before I felt right again.But my phone? Locked tight to my stem, exactly where it was meant to be, and no worse for the crash.The case from Armor-X is a regular on my phone these days and certainly goes with me whenever I hit the trail on my mountain bike. The case itself is slim enough for everyday use and easy to handle, while the mounting system, as evidenced by my crash, keeps everything locked securely on my bike.I am looking forward to more miles, but fewer spills, with both.last_img read more

Outdoor Updates: Australian firefighters save a grove of prehistoric trees, of which only 200 remain

first_imgTo save the trees, firefighters were lowered down to the grove to build an irrigation system to protect the trees and air tankers dropped fire retardant inside of the grove. Prior to 1994, the trees were thought to be extinct. Today, there are less than 200 remaining. Though some of the trees were charred by the fires, the species has survived.  Researchers concerned over dwindling Loggerhead Shrike numbers Seven hikers are missing after an avalanche along Nepal’s famous Annapurna Circuit, a popular trekking route in Nepal’s Himalayan Mountains. At least four South Koreans and three Nepali guides are missing after the avalanche swept the trail. Thirty others have been rescued. The avalanche hit just before noon local time on Friday at an altitude of 10,597 feet.  Read the full story here:  Read the full story here:  Hikers on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit missing after avalanche As wildfires rage across the continent of Australia, firefighters have managed to save a prehistoric grove of Wollemi Pine trees, which grow in a secret location within Wollemi National Park northwest of Sydney. The trees are thought to have existed during the Jurassic period, with the oldest fossil of the Wollemi Pine dating back 90 million years.center_img Australian firefighters save a grove of prehistoric trees, of which only 200 remain The loggerhead shrike is a bird that resembles a small version of a mockingbird, but that’s where the similarities end. The loggerhead shrike is a predatory songbird that preys on a variety of small animals and even kills birds heavier than they are. “Many times, you’ll see their larders, which is where they have skewered their prey on a thorn or barbed wire,” says Eric Soehren, biologist and manager of the Alabama State Lands’ Wehle Land Conservation Center. “That’s where the butcher bird name comes from. It’s a songbird, but it’s an efficient killing machine.” This tragedy comes just a few years after the 2014 Nepal snowstorm disaster, when at least 43 people from around the world were killed when severe snowstorms and avalanches struck the Annapurna Circuit, resulting in Nepal’s worst trekking disaster.  The numbers of loggerhead shrike have declined considerably in their range. Numbers in latitudes north of a Missouri-Kentucky-Virginia line have plummeted. Fortunately, in the South, a large population of the bird remains. In order to track and identify why their numbers are falling, biologists are banding as many shrikes as possible and asking the public to report any banded birds they see on  Read the full story here: read more

4 traits that financially secure people all share

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Learn the secrets to achieving financial zenby: Demetrios KalogeropoulosAre you financially secure? And by that I mean:Are you in control of your day-to-day, month-to-month finances?Could you absorb an unexpected financial shock?Are you on track to meet your financial goals?Do you have the freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life?These factors come from a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB generated 1,600 pages of transcripts documenting interviews with personal finance whizzes — both professionals and everyday people. It aimed to answer a simple question: What helps a person obtain a high level of financial security? continue reading »last_img read more

The third party cyber risk management solution

first_img 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr So, you have identified your top partners.  You have thoroughly evaluated their cybersecurity services in order to keep your members’ financial data safe and secure. But before you sit back and relax, you have to ask yourself “what about tomorrow?”The Pitfalls of Traditional Evaluation Methods for CybersecurityTraditional methods of evaluating your partners may include detailed questionnaires and conversations, audits, and maybe you have even conducted some vulnerability scans. These are all sound methods for establishing whether your partners are on the right track, but they are only a start. continue reading »last_img

Compliance: HMDA data due to CFPB by March 2

first_img continue reading » NCUA’s latest Letter to Credit Unions (20-03) outlines submission of 2019 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data. Credit unions located in metropolitan areas that engage in certain types and volume of residential mortgage lending, and that had assets exceeding $46 million as of Dec. 31, 2018, must file a report this year on mortgage loan applications received during 2019.Credit unions subject to HMDA requirements in calendar year 2019 must submit loan/application register data to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by March 2.Credit unions must submit their HMDA data using the HMDA Platform. No other submission methods are permitted. Credit unions will use the Federal Financial Institutions Council’s (FFIEC) HMDA Platform upload their loan/application register data, review edits, certify the accuracy and completeness of the data and submit data for the filing year. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Black Friday Long Island: Deals, Discounts & Store Hours

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Black Friday 2016 is upon us, and that means discounts, sales and special deals galore at stores all across Long Island and the New York metropolitan region!Whether that’s Walmart, Target, Macy’s, Sears, Best Buy, Old Navy, Kmart, Kohl’s, Sams Club, JCPenny, Lowes, Dell, Home Depot, Toys R Us, Express, Burlington, T-Mobile, New York & Company, Tanger Outlets, Roosevelt Field Mall, or many, many more, there are countless extraordinary Black Friday bargains, coupons and “Doorbuster Deals” that will have you restless in your seat at the Thanksgiving Day table, fiending to just get out and shop, shop, shop-shop, shop! For those of you who think “Who needs Thanksgiving when you’ve got mega-sales?!” this is a Black Friday Guide for you!Long Island Black Friday Deals, Sales, Bargains, Discounts, Store Hours & Doorbusters:Black Friday Long Island: Target is opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving!TARGETBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day onlineTarget Black Friday Deals: Beginning with Target’s Pre-Black Friday “10 Days of Deals”—which begins Saturday, Nov. 19—Black Friday Doorbuster deals and Cyber Monday sales, sales-hungry shoppers can expect hundreds of items with deep discounts on the latest electronics, such as PlayStation, X-Box and Nintendo video games, 4K HD TVs, Go-Pros cameras, drones and more! Shopaholics can also take advantage of Black Friday deals on household appliances, Disney toys, Star Wars collectibles, mens & womens apparel and shoes. Target didn’t forget about baby gift ideas, either! Enjoy tons of great deals on baby gear, baby clothes and baby toys to keep the youngest family members smiling throughout the holidays!WALMARTBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day onlineWalmart Black Friday Deals: Pre-Black Friday Deals include savings and rollbacks on everything from electronics and office items including 4K Ultra HDTVs and Tablet PCs to toys and video games galore to home, furniture and patio wares and every department and gift idea in between. Walmart’s special Holiday Gift Guide is chock full of fantastic deals on jewelry, clothing, technology, video games and entertainment, and of course, stocking stuffers (with plenty of gifts for your beloved furry pets, too)!BEST BUYBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving, all day online Best Buy Black Friday Deals: Best Buy’s Black Friday begins a full hour earlier than Target and Walmart’s, which means you and your family can check out of Thanksgiving dinner a full 60 minutes earlier to enjoy the thousands of hot deals and bargains available and get that Christmas holiday shopping off to an amazing start! Black Friday Doorbusters include great savings on all top brands of electronics and entertainment items, including 4K smart TVs, tablets, computers, cameras, headphones and accessories, drones, video games and systems, DVDs, smartphones, printers, and so much more!KOHL’SBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day onlineKohl’s Black Friday Deals: Doorbusters galore at Kohl’s includes a vast array of electronics equipment, including drones, cameras and printers, to housewares, clothing, exercise items, toys, jewelry and accessories, furniture, kitchen appliances, bed and bath supplies, and so much more! Every $50 spent earns you another $15 in cold, hard Kohl’s Cash, too! Some Kohl’s are actually staying open All Night and through Black Friday, so be sure and double-check their website or call to ensure you’ll be able to Shop for several days straight! Black Friday Long Island: Macy’s is opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving!MACY’SBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving till 2 a.m. Black Friday, all day online; Re-Open 6 a.m. on Black FridayMacy’s Black Friday Deals: Doorbusters, Doorbusters, Doorbusters is what you’ll find when you skip dessert with your family and loved ones and trek on out to the closest Macy’s you can find! We’re talking clothing. We’re talking housewares. We’re talking slow cookers, toasters and electric skillets—all on sale and ready to go! Like other Black Friday bargain extravaganzas at so many of the other stores on this list, Macy’s Black Friday Ad Booklet/Black Friday Guide contains coupons for additional savings, including free shipping online at $50! Some Macy’s will be staying open till 2 a.m., then re-opening again at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, so once again, be sure and double-check your particular local stores to ensure that you’ll be able to shop, then drop for a few hours in your car, then hit all those amazing savings up again with the sunrise!KMARTBlack Friday Hours: Store Opens at 7 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day onlineKMart Black Friday Deals: Thanksgiving Night Doorbusters continue until 2 p.m. Black Friday, so you’ll most definitely want to skip out on Turkey Day dessert in order to maximize all the shopping time available to reap all Kmart’s fantastic sales and bargains! From $1 DVDs and Blu-Rays to $3 Jaclyn Smith boxed costume jewelry and so much more, Kmart has got all the entertainment items, toys, and clothing for low-low prices to satisfy all the friends, family members and loved ones on your Christmas shopping lists! As they declare on their official Black Friday ad booklet: Go Elfin’ Wild! SEARSBlack Friday Hours: Store Opens at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day online Sears Black Friday Deals: Sears’ Black Friday Doorbusters kick off at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and include every home appliance, houseware, kitchenware, lawn equipment, you could ever dream of! This includes: refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, tools, lawn mowers, and so much more! As offered by other stores on this list, Sears’ special Black Friday sales guide, available once you make your way through the door, so be sure and grab a couple!PC RICHARD & SONBlack Friday Hours: Closed on Thanksgiving “to spend time with [their] family and friends.”PC Richard & Son Black Friday Deals: PC Richard & Son is offering tons of amazing sales and bargains to celebrate Black Friday, from up to 47 percent off Samsung SUHD TVs and Employee Pricing on small appliances, vacuums and more, to up to 50 percent off LG OLED TVs and one-year special financing on Mac computers, to so much more! PC Richard & Son also have a special Holiday Gift Guide to scoop up when you stop by that’s loaded with even more extraordinary discounts, so be sure and scoop a few of those up and shop, shop, shop!Black Friday Long Island: Toys R Us is opening at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving!TOYS R USBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving; all day onlineToys R Us Black Friday Deals: Toys R Us has every toy, game, bicycle, doll, and stuffed animal your children could ever dream of for Christmas, and offers amazing Black Friday sales and bargains that are just way too hard to pass up! From Star Wars and Paw Patrol to Marvel and DC superheroes and so much more, Toys R Us has even announced early access to Black Friday deals on more than 100 items beginning on Nov. 20 for Rewards R Us Loyalty Members! A trip to Toys R Us this Black Friday will definitely ensure there are no tears round the tree come Christmas morn this year! SAM’S CLUBBlack Friday Hours: Closed on Thanksgiving, all day online; Stores Open at 7 a.m. on Black FridaySam’s Club Black Friday Deals: Sam’s Club offers amazing Black Friday sales and savings on everything from TVs and computers to printers, housewares and kitchen supplies and so much more! Need a new backpack for that special child? Sam’s Club has it! Been searching for that special diamond pendant for your loved one? Search no more, Sam’s Club has it! Need a new jacket, mattress, or even a generator? Sam’s Club has got them all! TANGER OUTLETSBlack Friday Hours: Stores Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and Stay Open Till 10 p.m. on Black FridayTanger Outlets Black Friday Deals: Tanger Outlets in Riverhead and Deer Park typically offer pretty amazing deals nearly all the time, so you can imagine what kind of sales, bargain and discount smorgasbords it’ll be featuring throughout Thanksgiving and Black Friday! Dubbed its “Moonlight Madness & After-Thanksgiving Sale,” fashion-savvy shoppers can enjoy a range of deals boasting 60 percent off or more in savings! Tanger Outlets also offer a Free Deals & Coupon Book to ensure you maximize all of the amazing deals and discounts available!ROOSEVELT FIELD MALLBlack Friday Hours: Mall Opens at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving till 1 a.m., Re-opens 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. on Black FridayRoosevelt Field Mall Black Friday Deals: Roosevelt Field Mall is home to more than 270 specialty stores, including must-visit-on-Black Friday go-tos such as offers Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Dick’s Sporting Goods and so much more! Whatever gifts you’re looking for, whether clothing and toys for the kids, jewelry for that special someone, or housewares and kitchen supplies for the whole family, Roosevelt Field has got them, at special Black Friday bargains!The aforementioned are really just a taste of all the amazing Black Friday sales, discounts and bargains being offered this year, with more to be added to this list as discovered! So Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Now let’s get ready to shop, shop, shop!last_img read more

Virtual museum from Zagreb windows

first_imgThe Zagreb Tourist Board (TZGZ) has launched a campaign “From Zagreb’s windows ” on the Facebook page in the period from April 6 to 19, and invited fellow citizens to send their photos of Zagreb neighborhoods taken from their own balconies, windows and terraces.  The goal of the campaign was to record what Zagreb’s neighborhoods look like when the people of Zagreb “open” the doors of their living rooms. You can see the virtual gallery here Cover photo: TZGZ / Branka Mihić_Novi Zagreb & Clement Senaratne_Radićeva The concert will be broadcast live on the official Facebook page of the Tourist Board. The first concert from the roof of the tourist bus this year was performed by Damir Urban in Rijeka, and now in the same way the Zagreb Tourist Board is organizing a concert of the Filmmusicorkestar group which will take place tomorrow (April 28.04) starting at 17.00. Filmmusicorkestar concert from the roof of a tourist bus As a result of the completed campaign, TZGZ has created a virtual museum on its LoveZagreb blog, which consists of more than 300 photos from almost all districts of Zagreb. The bus will depart from the Square of the Victims of Fascism, and will pass through the city center, more precisely through the green wave to Svačić Square. Then, after performing some of the greatest hits by Gabi Novak and Arsen Dedić, he will continue his journey to Španski and Mamutica, where he will perform melodies from the films Who Sings Evil Doesn’t Think, Only Kiss Once or Tell Why He Leaves Me. “The response was great and we are glad that, in the two weeks of the campaign, we collected a lot of interesting and beautiful photos. We managed to motivate our fellow citizens to find something beautiful in everything that has happened to us in the past month and a half and to show us their “view” of Zagreb. Equally, we hope that we have encouraged all those who have not yet visited us to include Zagreb on their travel list.”, Say the Tourist Board of the City of Zagreb.  From the roof of the tourist bus, a popular double-decker, the concert will be performed by the Filmmusicorkestar group, and the repertoire will include a set of the most beautiful and timeless Zagreb melodies from the movie screen.last_img read more

BLOG: Funding Our Schools Is Good For Everyone

first_imgBLOG: Funding Our Schools Is Good For Everyone SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: By: Sarah Galbally, Deputy Secretary of Policy and Planning center_img Schools That Teach,  The Blog As the details of the state budget are ironed out, Governor Wolf is continuing to fight for historic increases to basic and special education funding, along with pre-k. He understands the plight of school districts that have struggled to make ends meet while they await crucial state funding, and that it is time to end this five-month budget impasse. He understands the importance of compromise, offering several concessions over the last few months to issues like pensions and liquor, but throughout this entire process, he has stayed true to his most important goal: funding our schools.Restoring the devastating cuts made to our schools over the last four years is Governor Wolf’s number one priority. The additional funding will allow Pennsylvania to turn the page on an ugly chapter of history that expanded class sizes, cut vital programs, and caused massive teacher furloughs and layoffs. Pennsylvania’s children have been paying a hefty price ever since.In March, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera sent a letter to the 500 superintendents across Pennsylvania asking them to submit plans for how their districts would responsibly and appropriately invest the additional funding into the classroom. He, the governor, and other members of the administration have visited dozens of schools across the commonwealth and experienced firsthand how the cuts of the last four years have hurt them, and heard how an increase in state aid would directly benefit students through expanded summer school programs, class size reduction, art and music restoration, and early childhood education. The response, received from nearly all 500 districts, was overwhelming.During an elementary school visit, Upper Darby School District superintendent Dr. Richard Dunlap told the governor:“When this district had the proper resources and funding, we were improving the academic standing of our students, which, in turn, had a positive impact on the morale of the district and community. We are confident that our current focus on our k-12 literacy program and instructional practices will improve our student achievement scores and also, potentially, limit future special education costs.”Dr. Elizabeth Robison of Pocono Mountain School District praised Governor Wolf’s commitment to funding education during a junior high school visit:“If additional state funding is made available, the district plans to add four instructional technology coaches — two to work with students in grades K to 5 and two to work with students in grades 7 to 12 — to provide direct instruction to students on the use of technology. The district believes that with additional resources and opportunities, we can work toward preparing our diverse population of learners for the 21st century. It is important for our district to increase the amount of students who are proficient in reading by third grade. Closing the achievement gap for our district is a continued goal each year. This funding opportunity will directly assist with helping to achieve this goal.”Those are just a few of the many stories members of the administration heard during the Schools That Teach Tour, which is 76 schools strong to date!The bottom line is that a restoration of basic and special education funding that is distributed fairly is a vital first step in moving Pennsylvania forward, but it cannot happen until Republican leaders in the Legislature get back to work and gather enough votes to pass the various proposals both sides have agreed on.As Governor Wolf has said from the beginning, “education is at the core of everything we want to achieve,” and securing much-needed education funding as part of a balanced budget will play an integral role in accomplishing his most important goal. November 24, 2015last_img read more