HARRISBURG – The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday held day-long budget hearings with the Department of Education (PDE) on the governor’s proposed 2022-23 state budget.
Gov. Tom Wolf proposed a $45.7 billion budget that would increase spending by $4.5 billion. Based on projections, this will create a $1.3 billion deficit in the following fiscal year and produce a $13 billion deficit by FY 2026-27.
Republicans questioned Secretary Noe Ortega about how PDE is spending federal dollars to address pandemic learning loss. Regarding charter schools, the secretary was questioned about why 11 of 14 cyber charters are operating with expired agreements, as well as the impact a proposed $373 million cut to charters would have on special education students.
Other topics included the lack of funding for community colleges that serve rural areas and returns on the $40 million spent on Keystone Exams.
The Basic Education Funding Formula and the need for schools to be resourceful with public funding were also discussed along with the school bus driver shortage.
You can find livestreams of budget hearings, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
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