Gov. Wolf Helps Funds with Largest Schooling Funding Enhance in State Historical past
Harrisburg, PA – In light of Pennsylvania’s comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tom Wolf today announced his support for the state budget, which invests in the future of our children with the largest increase in public school funding in the state’s history. This budget is also used to take important steps to stabilize childcare in order to help working parents return to work.
“Our economy has survived the pandemic and is now roaring forward. We’re a Commonwealth on the comeback, ”said Gov. Wolf. “This budget will help our state move forward and rebuild a strong, just economy that works for the Pennsylvanians. It provides the largest increase in education funding in the state’s history to provide our students with the education and training they need to find good jobs and thrive in Pennsylvania. And it is not an ordinary increase in funding – it is new funding specifically and equitably targeted at the most underfunded districts that support disproportionately colored students, students in poverty, students with disabilities and English learners.
“The budget also helps stabilize childcare so that working parents can return to work, support their families and stimulate the economy. We are addressing the housing crisis so that homeowners and tenants have a roof over their heads and a safe place to live. This is a budget that invests in Pennsylvania. “
The governor will sign the budget next week.
Historic $ 416 million increase in public education funding
Over the past six years, Governor Wolf has reversed historic cuts in public education and increased annual funding by $ 1.4 billion. This budget builds on that success with an additional $ 416 million, the largest year-long education funding increase in the state’s history, bringing the annual education funding increase to more than $ 1.8 billion during Governor Wolf’s tenure .
The $ 416 million increase in education funding includes:
- $ 200 million increase to the fair funding formula, totaling nearly $ 900 million, so all school districts have the resources to offer quality education that prepares students for success. Gov. Wolf signed the formula for fair funding in 2016.
- $ 100 million for Level Up, a new initiative that brings fairer funding to the 100 most underfunded districts and the students they support.
- $ 20 million for “Ready to Learn”.
- $ 50 million increase for special education.
- $ 30 million increase for early education, including $ 25 million for the Pre-K Counts expansion and $ 5 million for the Head Start expansion.
- $ 11 million for early childhood education.
- Almost $ 5 million for community colleges.
In addition, US $ 350 million will be invested in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for schools to counter learning loss and provide summer enrichments and after-school programs to help students with academic, social, emotional, and mental health problems.
This budget also includes $ 50 million in ARP funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to help reorganize and grow the system to make college education more affordable and accessible to students. The investment is part of a total of $ 200 million over four years for PASSHE.
“This budget is a historic investment in education so that our students receive the knowledge and skills they deserve,” said Governor Wolf. “Pennsylvania spends nearly $ 2 billion more annually on education than when I took office. Students now have access to better technology, resources and opportunities, and we offer more help to school districts in need.
“There’s a lot to be proud of in this budget, but I’m disappointed that we couldn’t reach an agreement with Republicans to channel all school funding through the bipartisan fair funding formula to growing rural, suburban and urban school districts to support. The Level Up Initiative is a down payment in this struggle that provides critical annual funding increases to the districts in need most – but nowhere near enough. This is a bold first step to ensuring fair school funding, and we will work to ensure that every student, regardless of their zip code, has the resources they need to succeed.
“Also, I won’t rest until we fix the broken Charter School Act to save nearly $ 400 million annually by getting charter school companies to focus on education rather than maximizing profits at the taxpayer’s expense. This may have been a missed opportunity, but it is not the only chance, and we will continue to fight to ensure that every dollar spent on education goes to students, not corporate profits. ”
Despite the new investments, Pennsylvania’s school funding remains unfair to many rural, suburban, and urban school districts. The state’s fair funding formula has only been in place for new investments since 2016, i.e. around 85% of basic education funding is still distributed via student enrollment from 1992, regardless of any shift in student numbers or the costs of school districts.
The governor continues to believe that the state must protect taxpayers from being overcharged from charter schools. The governor’s plan would fix the broken charter schools law to base spending on cost, save school districts $ 400 million a year, and get charter school companies to focus on quality of education and ensure transparency in the use of taxpayers’ money.
Helping working parents return to work
This budget continues the governor’s efforts to provide quality childcare for parents, with $ 728.9 million in ARP funding to help stabilize the childcare industry as it recovers from the pandemic. This investment will help the industry and employees safely open their doors so parents can return to work knowing that their children are receiving quality care.
“Even before the pandemic, many parents were struggling with the frustration and stress of finding good childcare for their children, and the pandemic made it worse,” said Governor Wolf. “This investment will enable parents to return to work with the peace of mind that their young children will be placed in safe and caring childcare. This vital support will help families and employers. “
For the safety of the Pennsylvanians
This budget increases funds to help Pennsylvania struggling with rent and mortgage payments stay in their homes and invests in affordable housing and security. The budget includes the following:
- $ 450 million in ARP funding for rental support, building on the $ provided in Law 1 of 2021
- $ 350 million in ARP funding for homeowner mortgage assistance.
- $ 36 million in ARP funding to pay water bills.
- $ 282 million in ARP funding to help nursing homes and long-term care facilities recover from the pandemic and improve patient safety.
- US $ 30 million in new state dollars for violence intervention and prevention by local communities and local organizations.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lyndsay Kensinger – firstname.lastname@example.org
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