Would provide adequacy, equity, and stability for all school districts; school construction and tax relief
HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – Majority Chairman of the House Education Committee, state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, released the following statement today regarding Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget address:
“Today, Pennsylvania families heard the Governor propose a plan to ensure every student from Kindergartener to college senior, has the same access to a quality education regardless of their zip code. For too long, the system in place to fund Pennsylvania schools was leaving too many districts in the red and more egregiously, too many students behind.
“What the governor proposed today would be the foundation to be built upon year after year. It would be a $1.3 billion investment to ensure adequacy, equity and stability for all 500 Pennsylvania school districts with an emphasis on the districts that need the most support. This would mean children will have better access to state-of-the-art technology, access to more books, STEAM programs and bring more teachers into classrooms to develop, encourage and nurture the young minds of today.
“The governor’s education proposal goes even further. It would provide $300 million for school construction and upgrades. The average age for a school building in Pennsylvania is over 70 years old. Every district from urban, suburban and rural alike has at least one building in need of repairs or upgrades.
“In the Allentown School District, where my two daughters attend school, there are buildings from the turn of the 20th century and even older. These are buildings which, at times, have no heat in winter nor A/C in late spring and early fall and were built at a time before we knew the dangers of lead and asbestos. Nor are they equipped to meet the demands of technology needed for 21st Century learning. No child can learn and retain when they are uncomfortable or unsafe.
“Another crucially important point addressed is the proposal in tax relief for homeowners in school districts that have been hit the hardest. This is long-overdue help for seniors and folks living on fixed incomes who have been carrying and supporting school district balance sheets.
“One final note, in addition to all the tremendous benefits the governor’s proposal would mean for K-12 families, higher education students would also benefit greatly from the governor’s plan. Pennsylvania has one of the largest student debt loads in the entire country and to have a plan that makes our state institutions easier to access and more affordable is a win for students and families.
“I am strongly encouraged with what the Governor outlined today; and my committee is ready to work hard to advance these initiatives. I also look forward to enjoying an honest exchange of ideas and finding those opportunities for consensus on key issues with my friends from across the aisle,” said Schweyer.
House Democrats are committed to promoting better jobs, better schools and better communities. Putting people ahead of politics, House Democrats are leading the charge to lower taxes, help workers save for retirement, put more teachers in local schools, and make communities safer. More information on these successful efforts is at pahouse.com/deliveringforpa.
Information provided to TVL by:
House Democratic Education Committee