GUEST VIEW Historic investment in Pennsylvania schools
School bells are ringing again and students are back in the classroom, as another school year gets underway in Pennsylvania.
Over the summer, the General Assembly approved a new state budget that spends more dollars than ever before to educate those students.
The historic investment of $15 billion in PreK-12 education includes a $525 million increase in basic education funding for a total of $7 billion, $100 million more for special education for a $1.3 billion total and a $60 million increase in Pre-K Counts.
Local school districts will receive the following higher amounts of basic education funding over last year:
•Brandywine Heights Area: $4.6 million, an increase of $211,836.
•East Penn: $15.4 million, an increase of $2 million.
•Fleetwood Area: $6.5 million, an increase of $186,910.
•Northern Lehigh: $7.8 million, an increase of $589,792.
•Northwestern Lehigh: $6.2 million, an increase of $307,335.
•Parkland: $11.9 million, an increase of $2.2 million.
•Salisbury Township: $3.1 million, an increase of $402,260.
•Upper Perkiomen: $9.7 million, an increase of $403,589.
To better prepare career and technical school students to fill the jobs of the future, the budget includes a $6 million increase for those training programs.
The budget also continues our efforts to protect students, faculty and staff from harm by allocating $100 million to the school safety and security program.
Another $100 million was also included in the budget for a new school mental health initiative.
Each of the school districts listed above will receive grants between $200,000-$500,000, split evenly between the two programs.
Finally, the spending plan supports the state-owned universities by providing $75 million in additional funding and another $125 million in federal relief funds to assist in the system’s current integration efforts.
In addition, the budget benefits college students through an increase in the maximum Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency from $5,000 to $5,750.
Additional information about the 2022-23 state budget is available at pahousegop.com/statebudget.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican, represents the 134th Legislative District, which includes Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie, Salisbury Township (Wards 4 and 5) and South Whitehall (District 3 and 4) in Lehigh County; and Hereford, Longswamp, Richmond and Rockland townships, and Topton Borough in Berks County.