EPLC Education Notebook

Wednesday, February 9, 2006

Governor Rendell’s Proposed 2006-07 State Budget

    Gov. Ed Rendell delivered his 2006-2007 State Budget proposal earlier today. The $25.4 billion state spending plan increases the basic education subsidy by 5% (an increase of $225 million to $4.7 billion), increases special education funding by 4% (an increase of $38.123 million to $911 million), and increases Career and Technical Education funding by 2.5% (an increase of $1.491 million to $61.1 million).

    The budget also increases funding for Accountability Block Grants by $50 million (up to $250 million), increases funding for Head Start Supplemental Assistance by $15 million (up to $45 million), and increases funding for reimbursements to school districts for charter schools payments by $26.874 million (up to $119.476 million).

    Within the basic education appropriation, $64 million is earmarked for Foundation Funding – designed to help 159 school districts that currently spend less than $9,030 per pupil move toward that target funding level. When the Foundation Funding supplement was introduced last year, the target level was set at $8,500 per pupil; the proposed 06-07 Foundation target has been adjusted for inflation to $9,030 per pupil.

    The 2006-07 budget proposal includes new investments designed to help Pennsylvania’s students compete in the global economy. The new “Science It’s Elementary” program would invest $10 million in competitive grants to improve science education in 150 elementary schools. The program is based on positive student achievement results from the ASSET program currently being implemented in 48 school districts in Southwestern Pennsylvania with private support from the Bayer Foundation. The new “Classrooms for the Future” initiative would provide $20 million in competitive grants for 100 schools to put Internet-accessible laptop computers on the desks of every high school English, math, science and history classroom and would provide an additional $6 million in state and federal funds to train teachers in integrating this technology into instruction. Finally, the budget proposal expands the New Economy Technology Scholarship Program by $3.7 million, which would provide higher education scholarships to 500 additional math and science majors and also expand the maximum annual grant awarded to students who agree to work in Pennsylvania after graduating from college.

    Other highlights of the 2006-07 basic education budget proposal include: $1.2 million for 500 teachers to earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; a $2 million increase for dual enrollment programs that will allow an additional 3,000 students to earn college credits while in high school; a $4.3 million increase for the state’s high school reform initiative (Project 720) that will allow an additional 30 schools to participate; and $3 million in grants for up to 40 school districts to enhance their middle and high school career counseling programs.

    All sectors of higher education also received a funding increase in the Governor’s budget request. Community colleges received a 5% increase, the State System of Higher Education received a 4.5% increase, state-related universities (Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University) received a 4% increase, and non-state related universities and colleges received a 3% increase.

    For additional information about the proposed 2006-07 budget, see the Governor’s web site at www.governor.state.pa.us/governor/cwp/view.asp?a=1101&q=445371.

    For information specific to the proposed 2006-07 education budget, see PDE’s web site at www.pde.state.pa.us/k12_finances/cwp/view.asp?a=5&Q=50942&K12_financesNav=|3848|&k12_financesNav=|4339|3848|.

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