"My budget works to provide our public schools with enrichment funding to help them achieve academic excellence at all grade levels. It provides for enhanced learning opportunities, career-focused training and, most importantly, a safe learning environment.
"For the past two years, the commonwealth has invested more Pennsylvania tax dollars in basic education than at any time in our history. Yet once again, this year, we will be putting a record amount of state funding into basic education, $5.5 billion, starting with early childhood programs and going all the way through grade 12.''
Other education funding initiatives include:
- Expanding funding for K-through-12 education, proposing an additional $90 million in Basic Education Funding, an increase of 1.7 percent over last year's record funding levels, for a total of $5.5 billion, the highest in state history.
- Proposing more than $348 million each year in early childhood programs. This budget will add another $6.4 million toward our Pre-K Counts (increase of $4.5 million) and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance (increase of $1.9 million) programs. This money will give an additional 3,200 children and their families access to quality full and part-day programs as well as summer kindergarten readiness programs.
- Proposing level funding for higher education at nearly $1.6 billion, including support of student grants. Of that total amount, $937.9 million is divided among Pennsylvania's state and state-related universities.
- An increase of $200,000 to the Community Educations Councils, which brings higher education and training opportunities to rural areas, for a total of $2 million in funding.
- An increase of $897,000 for Pennsylvania Charter Schools for the Deaf and Blind, totaling nearly $41.5 million.
The Passport for Learning Block GrantThis proposal will mark an unprecedented $1 billion enrichment program that will be distributed over the next four years, allowing flexibility for school districts in four general areas:
- School safety grant to allow schools to invest in necessary safety and security measures to protect our children.
- "Ready by 3,'' provides funds to establish, maintain or expand a quality, full-day kindergarten program that meets academic standards, or it can be used to enhance academic achievement in reading and math from kindergarten to third grade.
- Customized learning plans to allow students to learn at the pace and manner that best suits them.
- Science, technology, engineering and math remain critical to the continued advancement of our students, our state and our nation. The grant will provide funding to create or expand programs or activities that support science and math in grades six through 12.