BSE Sends Reminder to LEAs on State Performance Plan Data Requirements (February 8, 2024)

On February 7, 2024, PDE Bureau of Special Education Director Carole L. Clancy disseminated a PennLink communiqué to LEAs titled State Performance Plan Data Requirements – Postsecondary School Survey – Cohort 3 (MP4S). The memo references the accountability requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA) with regard to the secondary transition mandate by which each state is to determine, for the state as a whole, the extent to which students are achieving transition outcomes as stated in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) (State Performance Plan – Indicator 14).

To meet this federal reporting requirement, once over a five-year period, each local educational agency (LEA) is required to survey all students with IEPs who graduate, dropout, or age out. The My Plan For Success process (MP4S) will be used to gather this data. The random sampling process used to assign each LEA to one of the five years in each cycle ensures that the LEAs selected each year are representative of the state as a whole with regard to LEA size, disability category, ethnicity, gender, and exiting status.

During the 2022-2023 school year, LEAs assigned to Target Sampling Cohort 3 completed the exit process. The LEAs assigned to MP4S Cohort 3 need to be aware of the following points as they must fulfill the post-survey requirements during the 2023-2024 school year:
-No earlier than one year after the student left school and no later than September 30, 2024, the LEA will need to administer the MP4S post survey to former students who had an IEP and who graduated, dropped out, or aged out at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. (These former students should have been administered the exit survey in Spring of 2023). All this information will be entered by your LEA through the Leader Services online system.
-Intermediate Unit and Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) transition consultants will monitor the LEA’s progress and assist as needed with the MP4S procedure.
-The Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education will provide training on the implementation and electronic submission of the MP4S Target Year 1 to LEAs via a webinar scheduled for April 19, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Please register for this webinar at

For questions about this process, contact Hillary Mangis, Educational Consultant at the PaTTAN-Pittsburgh Office, at (800) 446-5607, ext. 6878 (inside PA) or via email at [email protected].

Governor Shapiro Unveils 2024-25 Budget Proposal (February 7, 2024)

On February 6, 2024, Governor Josh Shapiro presented his 2024-25 budget proposal to the General Assembly and to the people of Pennsylvania. The budget prioritizes economic opportunity and access to higher education and makes historic investments in public education. The Governor’s 2024-25 budget proposal takes advantage of the Commonwealth’s significant surplus and does not raise taxes, In fact, even if every initiative is funded the Commonwealth will still have an $11 billion surplus by the end of FY2024-25.

Creating Opportunity by Building on Historic Education Investments & Making Progress to Support Every Pennsylvania Child
In the 2023-24 budget, Governor Shapiro delivered the largest increase in K-12 basic education funding in Pennsylvania history and secured universal free breakfast for 1.7 million students. The budget builds on that historic progress by acting on the work of the Basic Education Funding Commission and delivering a comprehensive solution on K-12 education in Pennsylvania. Governor Shapiro knows ensuring all Pennsylvania children have the opportunity to succeed is critical to our Commonwealth’s future – and that is why he is proposing investments to fully fund public schools, support our teachers, and provide high-quality, affordable, and accessible childcare and early learning opportunities for families.

Continued Historic Investments in Basic Education Funding
Building on the progress made in the 2023-24 budget, the 2024-25 budget proposal includes a historic nearly $1.1 billion increase in basic education funding – the largest increase in Pennsylvania history, recognizing the work of the BEFC and the need to direct these investments to the schools that need them the most. Of this significant increase, nearly $900 million is proposed as a first-year adequacy investment as recommended by the BEFC. The remaining $200 million will be distributed through the Basic Education Funding Formula.

Funding Special Education and Protecting Vulnerable Students
Additionally, this budget includes supports for Pennsylvania students in their classrooms, including a $50 million increase for special education funding to ensure school districts have the basic resources necessary to provide special education services to students with disabilities and special needs.

Ensuring Safe and Healthy School Facilities
Pennsylvania students cannot receive an adequate education if their classrooms aren’t safe and healthy to learn in and for teachers to work in. The 2024-25 budget calls for continuing a $50 million annual investment in school safety and security improvements and $300 million in sustainable funding for environmental repair projects in school buildings. These investments will help schools address the environmental issues that threaten the health, safety, and opportunity of students. 

Recruiting and Retaining the Talent Our Schools and Students Need
Schools across the Commonwealth are facing critical staff shortages – particularly those serving low-income students and students of color – and helping to fill staffing gaps for critical teacher and education positions is an essential part of ensuring every student has the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed.
The 2024-25 budget invests $10 million for the Educator Talent Recruitment Account and $450,000 to support the Talent Recruitment Office at the Pennsylvania Department of Education to provide sustainable funding for colleges to increase participation in the education workforce by covering tuition, fees, supplies or other costs that serve as barriers to secondary school students enrolling in college coursework prior to high school graduation. 
To further strengthen the educator pipeline and put more teachers in Pennsylvania classrooms, the Governor’s budget increases funding for student teacher stipends by $5 million to a total of $15 million to support Pennsylvanians training to become certified and committed educators in the Commonwealth.

Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Supporting the Intellectual Disability and Autism Community
Governor Shapiro has heard from those with intellectual disabilities or autism – and those who care for them. He knows that we need to do something different to support home and community-based services and address the shortage of direct support professionals in our Commonwealth, because what we’re doing now isn’t working.
The Governor’s budget supports the intellectual disability and autism community by making a major investment:
-$215 million – and draws down another $266 million in federal funds – to provide more resources for home and community-based service providers, so they in turn can pay competitive rates to attract and retain the staff who provide these essential services.
-$36 million to help get more Pennsylvanians the home and community-based services they need.

Increasing Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products

Governor Shapiro recognizes that access to affordable menstrual hygiene products is an important factor in students’ health, and no student should have to miss school due to not being able to afford basic necessities like menstrual products.

To ensure Pennsylvania students are given the necessary tools to succeed in the classroom, this budget proposes $3 million to provide menstrual hygiene products at no cost to students in schools.

Supporting the Mental Health of Every Pennsylvanian
In the 2023-24 budget, Governor Shapiro secured $100 million for student mental health services and $20 million for county mental health support. The 2024-25 budget matches those investments and takes a step further by investing:
-$100 million in mental health funding for K-12 schools, building upon one-time federal funds and will ensure schools have the continued resources to provide mental health services to students and staff.
-Increasing funding for community-based mental health services by an additional $20 million this year and calling for additional funds in successive years, reaching an overall increase of $60 million per year increase by 2025-26.
-$10 million for 988 crisis line operations to enhance Pennsylvania’s crisis intervention services, expand mental health resources, and ensure competent and resilient staffers are available to support those in need.

Learn more about Governor Shapiro’s budget here:

Watch the Governor’s full budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate here. See  for the Governor’s full remarks as prepared for delivery.

Click to read the full budget in brief here.

PAPSA Sponsor Gaggle Provides Help to Districts for Securing PCCD MH Grant Funding (February 6, 2024)

A $90 million mental health grant for school districts across Pennsylvania has been made available through the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). With these funds, PAPSA sponsor Gaggle can help your school district provide exceptional digital safety, flexible teletherapy, and a 24/7 crisis line for your students for two years. What’s more, Gaggle will support you with the grant application.

If you’d like to learn more or receive support with your application, please email or call Rocco Gasparro at [email protected] or 216-262-2428 or click here to view the posting.

Download the Gaggle application template and submit your application today! If you have questions or need additional support, please contact [email protected] 

The above link will take people to a landing page where Gaggle has proactively created the narratives needed for each Gaggle service!

PDE Seeks Sponsors For Summer Meals Programs (February 2, 2024)

On January 31, 2024, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that it is encouraging organizations across the state to help provide nutritious meals to children in low-income areas during the summer months through PDE’s Summer Food Service Program. New sponsors must apply by May 1, 2024.

Last summer, more than 200 organizations provided nutritious meals to children at approximately 1,750 locations throughout the state. However, to reach more children and narrow the hunger gap that summer may bring, more organizations and meal sites are needed throughout the state, especially in rural areas.

Participating organizations are reimbursed for meals served to children who live in areas in which at least 50 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. 

Participating organizations must be year-round, not-for-profit entities, which include schools, local, municipal or county governments, libraries, churches, fire and police stations, residential summer camps, and national youth sports programs. Organizations approved to sponsor the Summer Food Service Program are responsible for managing the meal service sites that provide the meals to children. Beginning this summer, organizations serving rural areas may be approved to provide non-congregate meals, such as grab and go meals or delivered meals, to children in qualifying areas.

Most participating organizations may be reimbursed for up to two meals a day: lunch or dinner, and breakfast or a snack. Those serving primarily migrant children may be reimbursed for up to three meals a day. Camps may serve up to three meals a day, but they are reimbursed only for meals served to children eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program. 

The Summer Food Service Program, which began in 1976, is a federally funded child nutrition program designed to reach those who are age 18 or younger in economically disadvantaged areas. People over 18 who are mentally or physically handicapped and participate in public or nonprofit private programs established for the disabled are also able to receive free meals at the Summer Food Service Program sites. 

For more information on becoming a participating organization or a meal site for the summer Food Service Program, view the website at or call 800.331.0129.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

USDE: Postsecondary Schools to Receive FAFSA Applicant Info in March (January 31, 2024)

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) released new data that shows more than 3.1 million Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) forms have been successfully submitted since the 2024-25 redesigned application went live on December 30, 2023. The new data comes a little more than three weeks after the USDE announced more than one million FAFSA forms had been submitted and the form’s 24/7 accessibility.

The announcement also affirmed that colleges, universities, and other participating postseconday institutions will not receive information from students who completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) until the first half of March. The delay shortens the amount of time postsecondary schools have to make financial aid offers. The process is already three months behind schedule.

The delay was to provide the USDE time to develop a new, simplified form. To view the USDE press release, click here.