New budget will ensure safer schools and more scholarships for students
Harrisburg, PA – Teach PA applauds Governor Tom Wolf and Pennsylvania’s General Assembly on the passage of a state budget that supports safe and quality education for all students. This year, more scholarships will be available for students with financial need, as a result of a $25 million increase to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, and students and teachers will be safer at school, thanks to bipartisan efforts to make school safety a priority in the 2018-2019 budget.
Together with its network of Jewish day schools and community advocates across the commonwealth, Teach PA, a part of the Orthodox Union’s Teach Advocacy Network, spearheaded efforts to include nonpublic schools in this year’s security proposals. With this budget, the Office of Safe Schools will offer a $6 million grant program for School Police Officers to school entities, including nonpublic schools, a $2.1 million increase over last year’s allocation. Nonpublic schools may be given priority in awards of new monies. Teach PA welcomes the creation of the School Safety Fund, funded at $60 million, which will provide much needed safety grants to school districts.
Pennsylvania’s legislative leadership reaffirmed its commitment to all students by including a $25 million increase for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC), championed by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, for a total $160 million and funded the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program (OSTC) at $50 million. And, new parameters will allow more low-and-middle income families to participate. Currently, forty percent of Jewish day school students in Pennsylvania qualify for and receive scholarships through EITC and OSTC.
“This budget makes a few things clear,” said Elliot Holtz, Teach PA Co-Chairman. “That our legislators value the education that takes place in all types of schools, and, that when we work hard to make our voice heard, like we did this year all across our Teach PA network, we can have a significant impact.”
“We commend Governor Wolf’s creation of the School Safety Task Force this year and signing a budget that addresses the Task Force’s findings. The bipartisan effort to implement the findings of the Task Force are praiseworthy and we hope this commitment to school safety will grow to keep more schoolchildren safe in future years,” said Amir Goldman, Teach PA Co-Chairman.
Teach PA Director, Arielle Frankston-Morris added, “We thank our partners in advocacy—our schools, community advocates, and our coalition partners for working with us on behalf of students.”
This year’s spending plan also includes $88 million for services to nonpublic schools and $27 million for textbooks, materials and equipment for nonpublic schools.
To get involved in Teach PA’s work, visit https://www.teachadvocacy.org