Harrisburg, PA – September 20, 2023 – Today, the Pennsylvania Senate advanced HB 27, a bill to distribute crucial school mental health funding and community violence prevention funding.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) personally advocated an amendment that disperses $100 million for mental health programs in schools.
Regarding its passage, Senator Costa offers the following statement:
“I am very proud that HB 27 has cleared another important hurdle, as it approves spending for vital programs to benefit our schools, students, educators, and mental health professionals,” said Senator Costa. “As this commonwealth continues to face an unprecedented mental health epidemic, it’s heartening that both houses of the PA Legislature are taking this crisis seriously and funding solutions that we are confident will work. I look forward to continuing to improve access to mental healthcare and promoting safe communities for every Pennsylvanian.”
HB 27 clarifies language on the community violence program so that funds can be distributed.
The bill also streamlines school safety programs by requiring the Department of Education to work in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for collecting important data and developing programs to support students, reduce student delinquency, and promote better learning environments.
Lastly, the underlying bill provides for the extension of an important waiver program that allowed for flexibility for schools to use additional personnel for filling substitute teacher and paraprofessional positions.
HB 27 now goes back to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.