Hanna: New state budget includes funding increases for area school districts, higher education

HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, is pleased that the House passed H.B. 2121, the 2018-19 state spending plan. Led by increases in state funding that benefit area school districts and higher education, Hanna released the following statement on the new budget:

“I’m happy we were able to increase funding for basic, special and early education by $140 million and in higher education by $15 million,” said Hanna, the House Democratic Whip. “We need to start relieving our students and families of some of the highest higher education tuition rates in the nation, and the crushing debt burden that too many young people face as they leave school and begin their families and careers.

“Having a budget pass on time shows a bipartisan effort to tackle the demands of the needs throughout the commonwealth. What’s equally important is that this budget has no tax increases.  

“With the opioid crisis hitting the commonwealth hard, I’m happy to see more funding to fight that epidemic, along with maintaining funding for seniors through the Lottery Fund, and an increase to fix and manage our roads.

“The commitment to putting more money into the Rainy Day Fund is also something we can be proud of. We haven’t had the additional money available to do that for over a decade, but it is something that is needed should the economy take a downturn.”

Hanna added, “More and more of our students are choosing to enter career and technical education programs that can lead to rewarding careers. A $30 million increase in funds for CTE programs is huge, with $10 million going toward regular career and technical education. And $20 million will be used for expanding computer science programs, STEM development and promoting employer engagement.

"We want to make sure our workers are ready now and in the future to fill the jobs that businesses are demanding, and we want working people in Pennsylvania to have the opportunity to constantly move forward in their career so they can earn good wages, support their families and enjoy long-term financial security."

Additionally, Hanna noted that schools within his district will receive state funding at the following levels:

  • Bald Eagle Area School District – $8.2 million in basic education and $1.3 million for special education.

  • Bellefonte Area School District – $8.4 million in basic education and $1.7 million for special education.

  • Penns Valley Area School District - $5.3 million in basic education and $878,984 in special education.

  • Keystone Central School District - $20.5 million in basic education and $3.3 million in special education.

  • Jersey Shore Area School District – $13.1 million in basic education and $1.8 million in special education.

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) will also receive a 3.3 percent increase, the biggest increase among all public higher education entities.

“I am excited that Governor Wolf and my colleagues in the General Assembly saw the importance of investing in our PASSHE system,” said Hanna. “This increase in state aid will allow PASSHE to continue its mission of keeping our universities like Lock Haven University affordable for Pennsylvania’s middle-class families and all students who want to attend them.”

With the 3 percent increase in funds for Pennsylvania State University, President Eric Barron has recommended to that university’s Board of Trustees to not increase tuition, Hanna noted.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.