Photo: Getty/ PA Gov. Shapiro
PA Gov. Josh Shapiro has released 2023-24 budget. Photo: Getty/ PA Gov. Shapiro

Gov. Shapiro prioritizes quality education in his first budget proposal

PA Governor proposes an additional $1B in funding for public schools and $60 million for higher education


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Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget prioritizes his commitment to ensuring every child has access to quality education by proposing an additional $1 billion in funding for public schools in Pennsylvania—allocating $567.4 million for Basic Education and $103.8 million for Special Education programs throughout Pennsylvania school districts. Also, $10.4 million for Early Intervention services for children ages 3 to 5, $2.7 million to Head Start programs for workforce investments, and $30 million in Pre-K Counts funding to raise the per-child rate. 

The budget also includes an investment of $100 million in school safety and security grants. 

“PCE applauds Governor Shapiro for standing behind his campaign promise to ‘invest in public education and empower parents to put their kids in the best opportunity for them to succeed,” said Scott Peterman, Chief Executive Officer for Philadelphia Charters for Excellence (PCE), in response to the 2023-24 state budget proposal introduced by Governor Shapiro in a media statement. “PCE, on behalf of Philadelphia’s 83 public brick-and-mortar charter schools – serving 65,000 students – is encouraged by the Governor’s proposal which, unlike his predecessor, respects the educational choices made by families and does not attack public charter schools.” 

The budget addresses combating violence and discrimination with $75 million for violence intervention and prevention programming. 

The budget pays for the following:

  • Universal Free breakfast for every school-aged student: $38.536 million to provide universal free breakfast for 1.7 million PA kids—regardless of income and covers the full cost of lunch for the 22,000 Pennsylvania kids. 
  • Mental health support: provides $100 million in funding to connect students and staff to mental health services.
  • Repair unsafe school buildings: $100 million for school environmental repairs and improvements, including lead and asbestos exposure. 
  • Technical Education: provides $23.8 million to build partnerships between Career and Technical Education (CTE) and industries, trades, and entities that need workers from those programs.
  • Hiring more teachers, nurses, and police officers: $24.77 million for job retention and recruitment efforts to attract new prospects. 

“We look forward to partnering with the Governor and the General Assembly in supporting state and local initiatives to provide every student with a violence-free learning environment. This is a priority that transcends politics, school district vs charter school vs private school squabbles, and impacts communities across the Commonwealth...we can and must work together to ensure this basic need is met for every student,” added Peterman. 

Superintendent Tony B Watlington, Sr., Ed.D. Responds to Governor Josh Shapiro’s Budget Address:

“We appreciate Governor Shapiro proposing investments to improve the conditions of our facilities, specifically to address environmental hazards. We also applaud Governor Shapiro for putting forward an ambitious proposal. We are looking forward to engaging with Governor Shapiro and members of the General Assembly, in hopes of reaching a final budget that provides Philadelphia with an adequate and equitable level of funding.”

“PCE supports Governor Shapiro’s plan to invest $500 million over the next five years in environmental repairs and upgrades to schools, but calls on the Governor to ensure an equitable portion of those funds go to charter schools,” Peterman said. “Public brick-and-mortar charter schools have the same facility needs as school districts and they have been shortchanged on this funding in the past.”

Higher Education 

Gov. Shapiro has also allocated more than $60 million in funding for higher education institutions across the Commonwealth to increase postsecondary access and completion. 

  • $29.8 million for state-related universities 
  • $1.6 million to support parenting postsecondary students
  • $250,000 in new funding for the “It’s On Us Initiative,” which promotes awareness, prevention, and reporting of sexual assault incidents. 
  • $4.2 million to provide capital improvements at small rural libraries 

Although CTE programs provide training to approximately 67,000 students, the $23.8 million fund, according to Gov. Shapiro’s budget, “is a 60% increase, or more than $3.3 million in new funding, to ensure career and technical centers and schools with CTE programs can purchase and upgrade the technology and equipment students need to learn.” 

For a comprehensive breakdown of the 2023-24 budget, click here.


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