HARRISBURG – The Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed the proposed budget for the Department of Education during a public hearing today.
Gov. Josh Shapiro is proposing the largest Basic Education Funding increase in Pennsylvania history – more than $567 million in new state dollars. He did not follow through on his promise to fund Lifeline Scholarships, a key provision to help provide families with greater options to meet their educational needs, nor did he include any additional funding for Earned Income Tax Credit programs that help students who are struggling in their current learning environment.
Senator Martin on Maintaining School Safety, Boosting Student Mental Health, School Choice, and More
- Despite voicing support for school choice during his campaign, Gov. Shapiro did not include any new funding for Lifeline Scholarships and other school choice programs in his budget.
- Gov. Shapiro’s budget continues to fund critical school safety and mental health programs that were championed by Senate Republicans. Delays were reported in awarding school safety grants.
- The department was encouraged to ensure school safety and mental health funding are distributed to school districts as efficiently as possible.
- The department was urged to continue to support career and technical education to create quality career pathways for young people.
- The role of assessments and steps taken to improve educational outcomes of students were key points of discussion.
- The acting Secretary of Education was questioned about the need for taxpayers to pay for subsidized school meals for students from high-income families, particularly in light of a recent announcement of potential expanded federal eligibility for breakfast and lunch programs.
- The department voiced its disapproval of sexually explicit materials in school libraries.
- Questions were also raised regarding how to provide additional transparency and accountability to school districts’ financial decisions, as well as the appropriate level of budget reserves held by school districts.
You can find the hearings schedule, livestreams, daily recaps and video from prior hearings at PASenateGOP.com.
CONTACT: Jason Thompson