Here's the latest from the state Capitol

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Here's the latest from the state Capitol

The General Assembly passed a state budget that includes public school spending priorities championed by PSEA members and Gov. Tom Wolf.

However, lawmakers still need to complete work on a revenue package and other budget-related bills before the state budget process is complete. 

Here’s what’s happening:

State budget will increase funding for schools

The bipartisan budget plan cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 29 and was approved by the full Senate by a vote of 43-7 on June 30.

“This budget includes key funding for public schools and is another significant step toward ensuring that our schools and students have the resources they need,” PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak said. “I commend Gov. Wolf for his leadership and the bipartisan approach that he and lawmakers took to getting this done.”

The budget agreement includes key public school spending priorities, including:

  • A $100 million increase in basic education funding.
  • A $25 million increase in special education funding.
  • A $30 million increase in pre-kindergarten funding.
  • Restoration of $50 million in cuts to school transportation funding.

State Senate passes charter school bill that will erase $27 million savings to school districts and taxpayers

State senators passed an amended charter school bill on July 9, removing an important cyber charter school funding reform that would have saved school districts and taxpayers $27 million a year.

“Before senators amended the bill, House Bill 97 included language aimed at solving a very important problem: changing the law to address school districts’ long-standing, legally required overpayments to cyber charter schools,” said PSEA President Jerry Oleksiak. “For years, what school districts pay to cyber charter schools has been the same as the payments they make to ‘brick and mortar’ charter schools, even though those payments are significantly higher than what it really costs to run a cyber charter school. 

“Charter schools and cyber charter schools have a place in our public education system. They’re here to stay. But we can’t have a system that forces local taxpayers to pay cyber charter schools more than what it costs to educate cyber charter students.”