Senator Pat Browne E-Newsletter

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There is perhaps nothing more important in a young child’s life than the solid foundation they receive from a great education. With the passage of Pennsylvania’s state budget, our Commonwealth is again making new and significant investments in education at all levels to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

This budget provides the largest single-year increase in education funding for all levels of education, from Pre-K to our State Universities. Specifically, the budget includes:

  • $300 million more for Basic Education. –
    • $200 million run through the Basic Education Funding Formula
    • $100 million for the state’s 100 most disadvantaged districts
  • $50 million more for Special Education distributed through the formula developed by the Special Education Funding Commission which I chair.
  • $25 million more for Pre-K and $5 million more for Head Start, consistent with the recommendations of the Early Care and Education Caucus which I chair.
  • $20 million more for Ready to Learn Block Grants.
  • $50 million more for the modernization of the PA State System of Higher Education, previewing the work of the Higher Education Funding Commission which I chair
  • $40 million more for the Education Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC).

The 2021-22 State Budget continues the legislatures commitment to adequately fund the state’s Basic Education Funding Formula (sometimes coined as the “Fair Funding Formula”) and the Special Education Funding Formula. These formulas, which I developed as Chairman of both the Basic Education Funding Commission and the Special Education Funding Commission ensures equity in funding distribution by giving greater weight to districts with higher basic and special education student need and districts with a lower capacity to raise local public funds.

This budget runs $200 million more through the Basic Education Funding Formula, bringing the total amount of education dollars being distributed through the formula to a little under $1 billion. Additionally, $100 million is appropriated through a new supplement which uses the student need and district wealth factors in the basic education formula to specifically target additional funds to the states’ 100 most disadvantaged school districts (the so-called “Level-Up” supplement). With these commitments, the Allentown School District continues to receive the highest percentage increase in new state dollars among the state’s 500 school districts with an increase of over 406% over the last twenty-five years as compared to the state median increase of 90%.

I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the General Assembly and the Governor to craft a budget that makes education a priority. We have made great strides to help ensure that all levels of education have the resources they need to inspire and build the leaders of tomorrow. I will continue advocate and work to reform our education system for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.

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