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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Education bill awaiting PA Senate vote would boost billions in funding

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Monday, June 17, 2024   

A bill to increase Pennsylvania public school funding by billions of dollars passed the State House and is heading to the Senate for a vote.

House Bill 2370 proposes more than $5 billion extra in funding for the next seven years.

Pennsylvania State Education Association President Aaron Chapin said if the bill is signed into law, it would boost school funding and reflect critical elements of the Basic Education Funding Commission's majority report - which PSEA strongly supported when released in January.

"And essentially what it said is that 74% of our school districts, that's 371 districts out of 500, are underfunded at the state level," said Chapin. "And that means that hundreds of thousands of students across Pennsylvania, they're getting shortchanged by their state, and their schools are not getting the resources that more affluent districts have."

House Bill 2370 also reflects the recommendations in Gov. Josh Shapiro's proposed fiscal 2024-25 budget, which suggests a $1.1 billion funding increase for Pennsylvania's public schools.

Chapin said the funding from HB 2370 will also help address the teacher shortage in Pennsylvania by allowing schools to offer competitive compensation.

"The bill says that districts may use funding to increase minimum salaries for professional employees to $60,000 a year, and minimum wages for support professionals for at least $20 an hour," said Chapin. "And what that's really going to do is empower school districts to attract more qualified caring adults to the education profession. "

Chapin noted that the bill addresses the Commonwealth Court ruling that found Pennsylvania's public school funding system unconstitutional.

He noted that the Basic Education Funding Commission traveled across the state and gathered input from educators, advocates and experts about the real needs of public schools.

"What that report said is that $9.5 billion in new state dollars need to be invested into our public schools over the next seven years," said Chapin. "And that will help close the gaps from decades and generations of underfunding. House Bill 2370 implements that commission's plan."

Chapin said his organization applauds House leadership's unwavering commitment to ensuring adequate and equitable public education funding.




Disclosure: Pennsylvania State Education Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Early Childhood Education, Education, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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