Harrisburg, December 13, 2023 – Sen. Nick Miller (D-Lehigh/Northampton) announced that House Bill 301, which will provide planned funding to public libraries and community colleges, among other educational components, passed the legislature.
“Passing this bill is long overdue,” said Miller. “Providing the budgeted funding to these public educational facilities is essential.”
Funding for community colleges and libraries had been halted due to the bill not being passed, leading many to struggle and consider potential cuts to programming. The bill will now go to the governor for his signature.
“Pennsylvania’s 15 community colleges, including both Lehigh Carbon Community College and Northampton Community College in the Lehigh Valley, provide vital education to residents across Pennsylvania. They are a more affordable path to higher education and state funding is key to their continued success,” said Miller.
Community colleges rely on state funding to survive, making up 20 to 30% of their annual revenue. This funding will go toward paying employees, keeping student services active and general activities. Libraries will also see their funding released.
“Public libraries are a fundamental part of our neighborhoods, providing more than just books, but access to technology, workshops, classes and kinship,” added Miller.
House Bill 301 will also establish the Educator Pipeline Support Grant Program, which will provide a student teacher with a grant of up to $10,000 for their time student teaching, providing they continue to teach in the commonwealth for at least three years.
“There is a critical shortage of teachers in the commonwealth and our students are suffering,” added Miller. “Providing student teachers with an incentive to stay in Pennsylvania to start their post-graduate careers will hopefully lead them to a long, fulfilling professional career here.”
The bill will also create the School Environmental Repairs Program, which provides grants for schools to resolve hazards, such as mold, asbestos and lead in water.
“Students and staff should not be subjected to working and learning in environments that jeopardize their physical health,” said Miller. “It is urgent that we work quickly and correctly to fix these threats.”