PA Board of Education Gives Final Vote For Erie Community College
Board of trustees to be established by Erie County Council and County Executive
In a final, official vote, the Pennsylvania Board of Education has decided to establish a community college in Erie County.
The vote was a ten to five decision in favor of the community college plan. This July 8 vote followed the June 11 vote also in favor of the community college (then a nine to six decision) after a two-day virtual hearing
Erie County Council, along with Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, will now have 60 days to establish a board of trustees regarding the community college. There will be a total of nine board members, with two appointed by Dahlkemper, and each member of Erie County Council (Kim Clear, André R. Horton, Mary Rennie, Carl Anderson III, Brian Shank, Scott R. Rastetter, and Ellen Schauerman) appointing one.
"Data proved that Erie County meets all of the criteria for establishing a community college," Dahlkemper said in a statement to the press. "The support from local business owners, community leaders, and educators has been unmatched. We can't express the extent of our gratitude. I extend a very special thank you to Empower Erie for all their work leading up to this day. And now, together, we can be proud to finally have this opportunity to meet the needs of all Erie County students."
Erie County Council chairman André R. Horton (District 2) explained that "Community Colleges educate approximately 40% of college students nationwide, and more than half of all low-income students. Even though they perform at that level, they only received 27% of the COVID-19 Cares Act funding." In a statement, Horton argued that "despite clear evidence that community college students need relatively more support to succeed, states invest more in institutional resources and financial aid for students attending four-year institutions. Many of those students already have distinct advantages in family wealth and academic support needs. Today's Pennsylvania Board of Education vote ratifies and affirms Erie County as Pennsylvania's 15th and newest community college. It's a great day for Erie County residents."
For more information, including a full timeline of the application, go to eriecountypa.gov.