Ciresi applauds record investment in local schools in Governor Wolf’s budget proposal

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, released the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2022-23 budget unveiled today:

“Governor Wolf’s budget outlines a clear vision to make up for years of underfunding education and local development with historic investments in public education and our communities that will improve our schools, reduce property taxes and breathe new life into the 146th,” Ciresi said. “This funding would be a major help to all of our local districts and have a transformative effect on Pottstown, which has long been one of the most underfunded in the state.”

The budget includes an additional $2.1 billion for public education statewide, achieved through increases in basic and special education funding and cost savings through comprehensive charter school reform without raising taxes. It also expands on the “Level Up” funding included in this year’s budget, designed to help Pennsylvania’s most underfunded school districts such as Pottstown School District. The charter school reform that Ciresi and Wolf have partnered on would achieve over $373 million in savings statewide. These reforms include using the same special education funding formula used by school districts and setting a data-driven statewide tuition rate for cyber charter attendance.

The local impact of these investments in education for the 146th District would be:

  • Districtwide net increase of $18 million, including over $3.1 million in charter school cost savings:
    • Perkiomen Valley School District: $2.28 million
    • Pottsgrove School District: $2.72 million
    • Pottstown School District: $9.16 million
    • Spring-Ford Area School District: $3.8 million

“This budget proposal also recognizes the increasing damage we’re seeing each year from worsening storms and natural disasters,” said Ciresi. “I am pleased to see that my plan for state disaster relief assistance is included in this plan to help Pennsylvanians recover when they need it most.”

Following the damage caused by Hurricane Ida, Ciresi introduced legislation in December to create a State Emergency Supplemental Grant Program to provide financial assistance for disaster recovery, to fill gaps in FEMA assistance for individuals. Wolf’s 2022-23 budget proposal includes a new $10 million State Disaster Assistance initiative to provide disaster assistance to individuals and improve natural disaster readiness.

Other key provisions from the budget proposal include:

  • Increased investment in the commonwealth’s public health workforce, safe staffing levels at nursing facilities, behavioral health services, and reducing the waitlist for intellectual disabilities and autism services.
  • Keeping students and communities safer through $45 million for school safety and security grants, an additional $5 million for community-led gun violence prevention efforts and doubling nonprofit security grants.
  • Expanding access to Pre-K Counts for an additional 2,308 children while increasing overall program investment by 25%.
  • Improving access to higher education with a $200 million needs-based Nellie Bly tuition scholarship program, giving priority to students pursing careers in high-need sectors with a commitment to stay in Pennsylvania.