Harrisburg — December 14, 2023 — The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed two education code bills and a fiscal code bill, concluding the 2023-2024 budget months after the June 30 deadline had passed.
Although a budget was initially passed in July and signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro on August 3, 2023, Senate Republicans and House Democrats struggled to reach an agreement on code bills necessary for authorizing spending on specific budgetary items.
Key funding authorized by the code bills includes $70 million in state aid for public libraries, $261 million for community colleges, $10 million for the Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program and an additional $20 million for county mental health services.
Furthermore, funding has been approved for two programs aimed at fixing school facilities. A transfer of $100,000 from Level Up has been directed to the newly established Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program, with an additional $75 million allocated to the Environmental Repairs Program.
State Sen. Judy Schwank underscored the significance of these items.
“Delaying funding for public libraries, community colleges, and programs that deliver vital resources to Pennsylvania communities placed an unnecessary strain on a lot of people. The impact of this delay was felt in Berks County. While the process took way too long, I am relieved that this necessary funding will finally flow.”
Schwank further acknowledged the chaotic nature of this budget process and emphasized the importance of a more straightforward approach in the coming year.
“The six-month delay reflects poorly on the legislature. We cannot put the commonwealth through a similar ordeal next year. It’s crucial we learn some lessons and move forward with a more efficient and transparent process as we shift our focus towards the budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.”