Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie), chairman of the House Education Committee, today issued the following statement after House passage of the 2022-23 state budget:
“This budget makes historic investments and policy changes that will leave a lasting impact on education in the Commonwealth for decades to come whether the student is in kindergarten or enrolled in higher education. Among the highlights is increased educational opportunities no matter whether it is a traditional public, public charter or private school. A family’s ZIP code should not be a determining factor in their success.
“Basic education, special education and early childhood education will receive significant funding increases. More specifically, basic education is hiked by $525 million, special education funding by $100 million, Pre-K by $60 million and Head Start by $19 million.
“In addition, the budget adds $125 million, a 45% increase, in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. This opportunity gives students and their families the key to unlocking the educational door that works best for them. In addition, $225 million will be allocated to the poorest 100 school districts to provide further resources to students.
“School security and student mental health have been at the forefront of discussions lately. This budget builds on the successful flexible School Safety and Security Grant Program established in 2018. Under the plan, $100 million will be given to schools to strengthen safety and security. Additionally, $100 million will be driven out to create student mental health focused grants. Each school district is different, and these grant programs put the choice of how to best use the funds at the local level.
“Our higher education students benefit too from this budget. The redesign of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will be supported by $125 million in federal relief funds. In addition, PASSHE is receiving a $75 million increase. The maximum PHEAA grant award will be increased from $5,000 to $5,700. Also, recognizing the importance of our trades, community colleges will receive a 4.6% increase and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology an additional 4%.
“Finally, Gov. Tom Wolf agreed to drop his onerous charter school reform regulations, which would have made it more difficult for these schools to operate and provide quality education to their students. Among the problems with these regulations were unreasonable requirements that could have resulted in revoking, not authorizing or not renewing a charter; contradictory language and lack of clarity on enrollment; continued deficiencies in requirements for payments to charters by school districts; and shortcomings on guidance for staff health care benefits.”
For more information on the budget, go to www.PAHouseGOP.com/statebudget
Representative Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick