Governor Tom Wolf joined students, educators and elected officials in the Erie School District to celebrate the administration’s historic $3.7 billion investment in public education over the past eight years.
“I promised the people of Pennsylvania that I would make education and the future of our children a priority again for the commonwealth. And I have fought every day to do just that,” Governor Wolf said. “This year’s budget includes a massive investment in our kids, our schools and our future. It’s also an investment that could free up local communities to reduce property taxes.”
This year’s budget alone includes a record $1.8 billion in education investments.
Speaking at Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy today, Governor Wolf recalled that proper funding for education was his top priority when he took office in 2015. That priority held true in this year’s budget talks, resulting in:
- $525 million increase through the Fair Funding Formula. On average Pennsylvania schools will see their funding increase by 8 percent.
- $225 million increase for Level Up to provide targeted support to the 100 most in-need school districts, ensuring that every child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to thrive and succeed through equal access to a high-quality education no matter their zip code.
- $100 million increase for Special Education.
- $79 million increase for Early 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 allow school districts to invest in student learning while simultaneously cutting local property taxes.
Level Up, first funded in last year’s budget, initially provided a $100 million equity supplement to the state’s 100 most underfunded school districts. The 2022-23 budget increases Level Up funding by $225 million.
“Governor Wolf’s commitment to Level Up funding is powerful recognition that inequity among Pennsylvania school districts must be addressed,” said Kate Philips, Level Up Coalition spokesperson. “This funding, which slowly begins to level the playing field, temporarily eases the burden that superintendents, school boards, and educators – and students – in rural, urban, and suburban school districts are faced with every day due to chronic funding disparities.”
Even before the 2022-23 budget was finalized, the Wolf administration had:
- Invested more than $1.9 billion in education from pre-k through college, including the largest single-year education funding increase 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 Fair Funding Formula to help address chronic inequitable and inadequate funding for school districts in the commonwealth.
- Invested $116 million in science, computer science and technical education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program, and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.
- Modernized standards for science education.
- Invested more than $130 million in School Safety Grants to make schools and school communities safer.
- Reduced the age when students must start school to 6 and raising the high school dropout age to 18 to set students up for a lifetime of success.
- Launched first-of-its-kind “It’s On Us PA” Campus Sexual Assault Prevention initiative to combat sexual assault and make colleges and universities safer.
Click here to view the press release.