After the $40.8 billion budget was approved by the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf last month, both Wolf, a Democrat and the Republican-controlled Legislature, touted its savings while spending in a few key areas, including education.
Here’s a breakdown of the education-related expenditures included in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget.
Basic Education Funding
- $300 million, or a 4.8 percent increase for basic education funding.
- $200 million distributed through the fair funding formula, bringing the total share of formula-driven funds to 13.7 percent.
- $100 million distributed to the 100 most underfunded school districts through the new Level Up supplement.
- $50 million, or a 4.2 percent increase for special education funding.
- $30 million, or a 10.7 percent increase for early childhood education — split $25 million for Pre-K Counts and $5 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance.
- $11 million, or a 3.4 percent increase for Early Intervention for ages 3-5.
- $190 million increase for PlanCon to pay for old projects using current General Fund revenues rather than bond debt.
- The school code raises the cap for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program from $185 million to $225 million, a $40 million or 21.6 percent increase. The entire increase goes toward the scholarship organizations program, which benefits private school students.
- PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE): no increase for state funding, but $50 million is appropriated for COVID Relief from federal American Rescue Plan Act resources.
- Level funding for the state-related universities (Penn State, Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln universities), and the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.
- $1.4 million increase for community college operating costs. This increase will support the new Erie Community College.
- $3.2 million increase for community college capital reimbursements, supporting buildings and facilities. This increase will help Erie Community College with start-up costs.
• Level funding for Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) programs, including the State Grant Program, Ready to Succeed Scholarships, Institutional Assistance Grants for private colleges and universities, the Bond-Hill Scholarships and the Cheyney Keystone Academy.
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