For Immediate Release
Media contact for PSBA:
Chief Communications Officer
Pennsylvania School Boards Association
PSBA Pleased with Prioritization of Public Education in 2021-22 State Budget
Mechanicsburg, PA (June 25, 2021) – The Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) is pleased that the 2021-22 state budget will prioritize public schools and students by including significant increases for basic and special education subsidies, as well as the allocation of one-time federal funds to address critical learning and related needs.
If approved, a $300 million increase in basic education funding (BEF) represents one of the largest increases in history and should help ensure that local taxpayers are not required to foot the bill for all of the increases in mandated costs such as pensions and charter school tuition. The budget allocates $100 million of the increase in BEF funding for a new “Level-Up” initiative, which accelerates the positive impact of the BEF formula on those school districts identified under the proposal as being the most in-need of additional state funding.
A $50 million increase in special education funding matches the substantial increase in special education funding from two years ago and will ensure the state picks up a larger share of special education expenses. Currently, state funding for special education only supports 22% of public school costs for providing mandatory special education programs and services.
“This is a step in the right direction, and PSBA is encouraged that the Legislature has responded favorably to our continued advocacy for additional financial support for public education. PSBA will continue to fight for solutions to the systemic mandated cost drivers that are crippling school district budgets and necessitating increases in local taxes,” said Nathan Mains, PSBA’s chief executive officer.
In addition to these anticipated increases, the budget is expected to distribute nearly $471 million of the state’s federal American Rescue Plan one-time funding to schools to address learning loss, at-risk youth, and other needs that have occurred or worsened due to instructional changes necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“School directors across Pennsylvania made the case that public schools need additional funding to ensure every student has the chance to succeed. Legislators listened by providing an historic increase and directing funding to districts most in-need, but there is still work to be done,” added Mains. “Investing in the success of our students is key to the prosperity of our commonwealth.”
PSBA looks forward to working with the General Assembly on issues affecting public education in the future, with particular focus on charter school funding reform.
PSBA is a nonprofit statewide association of public school boards, pledged to the highest ideals of local lay leadership for the public schools of the commonwealth. Founded in 1895, PSBA was the first school boards association established in the United States.