Ciresi highlights record education funding, call for charter reform in Shapiro’s budget proposal

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, released the following statement regarding Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposed 2024-25 budget proposal, unveiled today before the General Assembly:

“Today’s budget address included a strong plan for public education that will help our students, taxpayers, and communities,” Ciresi said. “In addition to proposing a historic investment in education, I was glad to hear the governor’s support for cyber charter reform that would align payments to the actual cost of cyber education. These changes level the playing field for all schools and students, invest in public education, and give a much-needed break to our property taxpayers.”

Ciresi said the proposed budget includes an additional $1.1 billion for basic and special education statewide, delivering an increase of almost $9 million to school districts in the 146th Legislative District, including:

  • Pottsgrove School District: $2.9 million.
  • Pottstown School District: $4.8 million.
  • Spring-Ford Area School District: $1.3 million.

This includes savings from setting a standardized statewide cyber charter tuition rate, which would return $262 million to public school districts and taxpayers. The reform was part of Ciresi’s legislation (H.B. 1422) that passed in the House with bipartisan support last year.

“These investments in education are a first step on a path to making sure every school has the resources it needs,” Ciresi said. “They also recognize that our property taxpayers deserve a break, and for the first time, this would include funding specifically dedicated to providing that relief in places like Pottstown and Pottsgrove.”

Shapiro’s budget also proposes significant investments in economic development, including $500 million for the PA SITES program that was created last year. The program would help transform vacant and underutilized properties into sites ready for businesses to relocate and expand.

“The proposed funding for economic development would help older industrial towns like Royersford and Pottstown re-emerge and revitalize with new industries and jobs,” said Ciresi. “These investments would go a long way to bringing vacant and abandoned properties back to productive use, contributing tax dollars and local jobs while strengthening our communities.”

The budget proposal includes $282.8 million in new and recurring funding for public transportation statewide, helping transit agencies -- including SEPTA and Pottstown Area Rapid Transit. This funding was requested by SEPTA to avoid significant service cuts and fare increases, which would have been harmful for the greater Philadelphia region’s economy and transportation network and would help transit agencies improve service and plan for future needs.

Other key provisions from the budget proposal include:

  • Addressing the Disability Workforce Crisis: Expanding support for home and community-based services, with $217 million in state funding leveraging $266 million in federal funds to attract and retain workers and address serious staffing shortages.
  • Making College More Affordable: Uniting PASSHE universities and community colleges under a single system, significantly increasing funding for higher education, and expanding student financial aid to help make college more affordable for all Pennsylvanians.
  • Supporting Our First Responders: Doubling state funding for the Fire and EMS Grant Program, helping local fire companies and EMS providers purchase equipment, upgrade facilities, and provide training.