Erie schools affect the rest of the city

Lauren Abbott, Staff writer

The Erie School District is being forced to make decisions that no one benefits from.

The lack of funding from the state has left Erie in a state of dismay as our schools are vastly underfunded.

Some may say that having four high schools is not necessary and that Erie can get by just fine with two.

Although that may be the only option due to the budget crisis, I believe that by closing any of the high schools, Erie will be losing important aspects of our culture.
Last year as a high school senior, I had the opportunity to visit all four schools with other high school students across the district.

We got a chance to tour each of the schools and every time we went to a new school, the students there got to showcase what they loved most about their school.

What I saw at these meetings was that even though the four high schools are widely different in terms of academics, sports and extra-curricular activities offered, the students that go to each school have so much pride in their schools.

At each school the students were so excited to show us what made their school unique and what made them proud to be a student there.

I know there are many different opinions and assumptions about the Erie high schools, but without these schools, Erie will have no chance of growing as a city.

By refusing to help Erie and implementing a fair funding formula, Pennsylvania is refusing to invest in its future.

Each school provides a unique aspect to Erie. Strong Vincent offers its proud alumni  base and strong sports teams.  Central Tech is the only technical school in the city and offers important skills to Erie students who are not necessarily interested in going to college.  Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy (NPCA) is ranked as one of the best schools in the state and was honored a couple of years ago as a Blue Ribbon High School.  Last, East is accommodating to all students and has a very successful honors program. Losing even one of these would be a great loss to Erie.

Recently, a proposal for financial aid was requested by the City of Erie School District to help renovate and maintain their schools.  This request was shot down by Harrisburg.

The result of the new restructuring plan is the loss of two schools, Strong Vincent and East.  This leaves no high schools on the east side of town except Collegiate Academy.

NPCA has worked so hard to maintain its top ranking spot on the U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools in Pennsylvania list.  If the honors students from both Strong Vincent and East were included at Collegiate, class sizes would sky rocket and test scores there might suffer.   This would make NPCA lose their number four ranking.

When people are looking to move to an area, one of the first things people look at is the school district.

People want to know that they can raise kids in a reliable, well-developed school system where they can be sure that their children will get a quality education.

Right now, Erie does not offer any of these things and has no guarantee that the problem will get better.

State Senator Scott Wagner a Republican from York, Pa., visited NPCA and Central Tech and called the state of the schools “disgusting.”

Wagner voted against giving the Erie School District the funds necessary to maintain their schools.  With this making the news, what prospective movers would want to move to Erie?

This is a major problem for Erie County, just as businesses are looking to expand and invest in the area, this will be a major turn-off for any company or family looking to move into the area.

The population of Erie is already decreasing.  I believe that closing two high schools would cause the population to decrease further.

Without good schools, Erie will not have a future. We need to invest in the education of the youth of this city and help them to grow to be responsible capable adults that can further help Erie grow and thrive as a community.

If we can’t put any faith in our public schools, Erie will be stuck in a rut that will be near impossible to escape.