Longietti votes for budget, citing historic education funding

HARRISBURG, July 8 – State Rep. Mark Longietti voted Thursday to support Pennsylvania’s new budget plan, saying it spends responsibly while making historic investments in public education.

“As Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, I worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft a budget that would deliver the kind of meaningful education funding that has been long overdue for Pennsylvania’s public schools,” Longietti said. “The new plan delivers increases of $525 million for basic education and $100 million for special education. It also includes $225 million in level-up funding to help even the playing field for students in underfunded districts, including those in Farrell Area, Sharon City and Greenville Area schools.”

Longietti said the new plan – which also includes $95 million each for student mental health and school security programs – includes the following school district funding increases:

  • Farrell Area: $2 million (24.7% increase) for basic education; $100,000 (10.5% increase) for special education.
  • Greenville Area: $836,600 (11.3% increase) for basic education; $102,300 (9.1% increase) for special education.
  • Hermitage: $490,000 (7.5% increase) for basic education; $102,300 (8%) for special education.
  • Reynolds Area: $373,300 (4.6% increase) for basic education; $71,700 (6.7%) for special education.
  • Sharon City: $2.9 million (17.1% increase) for basic education; $227,500 (11.4% increase) for special education.
  • Sharpsville Area: $393,800 (6% increase) for basic education; $88,700 (10.6%) for special education.
  • West Middlesex Area: $96,400 (1.8% increase) for basic education; $55,200 (7.3% increase) for special education.

Longietti said he also fought to restore adequate funding for dual enrollment, which allows high school students to take college-level courses and receive college credit by helping them pay for those credits.

He added that the budget provides strong investments in both early education – including a $60 million increase for Pre-K Counts and $19 million more for Head Start Supplemental – and for higher education – including $20.6 million in increased PHEAA grant funding and funds for PASSHE and state-related universities to allow for tuition freezes. 

“I also fought for $2.35 million in funding for Invent Penn State, which will help fund entrepreneurial programs through branch campuses, including Penn State Shenango in our district,” Longietti said.

Longietti said other key budget highlights include an additional rebate under the Property Tax/Rebate Program equaling 70% of the amount the claimant received for 2021; $125 million for a program to assist needy homeowners with repairs; $100 million to expand affordable housing; $100 million to improve mental health services; $90 million to stabilize child care and create a new state child and dependent care credit; and a return of $2 billion to the Rainy Day Fund, leaving $5 billion to safeguard against future fiscal issues.