HARRISBURG, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Education is one of the biggest winners in the new Pennsylvania budget signed by Governor Tom Wolf on Friday.
The new $45.2 billion budget is about a three percent increase in state spending from the last fiscal year and includes an additional $1.8 billion for education.
“It’s a record increase in funding and what it says is that now that Pennsylvania has financial resources, our priorities are in the right place,” said Gov. Wolf. “I’m very proud of all the things that we’ve done in this budget. We’re focused on the things that actually really matter to the people of Pennsylvania and that’s what we’re doing with the money that we have,” he added.
New investments include $525 million for K-12 schools and $225 million for the state’s 100 poorest districts, also known as the “Level Up” initiative.
Lawmakers from both parties were also able to agree on $100 million each for special education, school safety and security, and school mental health services.
Gov. Wolf would’ve liked to see more funding, but says this budget will still make a huge difference in education.
“I asked for a lot more in my budget, so you can’t get everything you want,” said Wolf.
He’s been calling on the General Assembly to increase spending for public education in recent legislative sessions. This week, he shared his reaction and says the state is well positioned for future investments.
“And we’re also saving. A record Rainy-Day Fund, a record opening balance for the next year, whoever the governor is next year,” said Wolf.
Another $125 million will be invested in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC), bringing it to a total of $405 million.