Governor Tom Wolf today joined students, educators and elected officials from the Scranton School District in celebrating the administration’s historic $3.7 billion investment in public education over the past eight last years.
“From day one, building a brighter future for the children of Pennsylvania has been my top priority, to give our children a strong foundation, to prepare them for a future of success and prosperity,” Governor Wolf said. “There’s still work to be done to ensure that every student in Pennsylvania has equal access to the high-quality education they deserve, but we’ve come a long way in the past eight years.”
This year’s budget alone includes a record $1.8 billion in investments in education.
Speaking today at the soon-to-be-launched STEMM Academy at Scranton High School, Governor Wolf reiterated that adequate funding for education was his top priority when he took office in 2015. This year, this priority resulted in:
- Increase of $525 million through the Equitable Funding Formula. On average, schools in Pennsylvania will see their funding increase by 8%.
- Increase of $225 million for Higher level to provide targeted support to the 100 most needy school districts, ensuring that every child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to thrive and succeed through equal access to high-quality education, regardless of zip code .
- $100 million increase for special education.
- $79 million increase for early childhood education through Pre-K Counts and Head Start.
- $220 million for public higher education.
The investment in education includes $850 million in recurring funding to enable school districts to invest in student learning while simultaneously reducing local property taxes.
“I salute Governor Wolf’s commitment to fight for bigger and better investments in education. He has provided more funding for education than any other governor in Pennsylvania history,” said State Senator Marty Flynn. “The historic increase in education funding this year will help schools in my district, like Scranton High School where we are today, that have lacked the basic resources and tools needed to provide students with a supportive environment. ‘high quality education and learning.’
Level Up, first funded in last year’s budget, provides an equity supplement to each of the 100 most underfunded school districts in the state.
“I want to especially thank the Governor for fighting for the $225 million in Level Up funding included in the 2022-23 state budget,” said state Rep. Thom Welby. “These funds will help historically underfunded school districts like Scranton and many others, and they are an additional appropriation, on top of basic education and historic Fair Funding Formula dollars that will be distributed to school districts. of our Commonwealth.”
“Today marks a major victory in the fight for adequate and fair funding for our schoolchildren,” said state Rep. Kyle Mullins. “I am proud to stand with Governor Wolf and other elected leaders who have never wavered in their commitment to public education, and our efforts must continue on behalf of our children, our educators and our communities. our taxpayers. »
“Lackawanna County schools alone are receiving an additional $19.4 million from this budget, or 15.2% more than last year,” said state Rep. Bridget Kosierowski. “The Scranton School District has been consistently underfunded for years and I am not here today to say that every problem is now fixed. But providing a district that is still in financial recovery with an additional $11.5 million, including $5.1 million in Level Up funding, is something that should certainly be celebrated and should become a model for future budget discussions.
Even before the 2022-23 budget was finalized, the Wolf administration had:
- Invested more than $1.9 billion in education from kindergarten through college, including the largest single-year increase in education funding in state history in 2021.
- Created the Level Up initiative to provide $100 million to the 100 most underfunded school districts.
- Established the Public School Fairs Funding Formula to help address the chronic inequitable and inadequate funding of Commonwealth school districts.
- Investing $116 million in science, computer and technology education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.
- Modernized standards for science education.
- Investing more than $130 million in School Safety Grants to make schools and school communities safer.
- Reducing the age at which students must start school to 6 and raising the school leaving age to 18 to prepare students for a lifetime of success.
- Launched the first campus sexual assault prevention initiative “It’s On Us PA”, the first of its kind, to combat sexual assault and make colleges and universities safer.