PA State Capitol rotunda ceiling

A Perspective on Governor Shapiro’s Proposed State Budget

(March 13, 2023) On Tuesday, March 7, Governor Shapiro delivered his inaugural budget address and proposed funding for child nutrition, education, and health focused programs that benefit children across Allegheny County and Pennsylvania. Allies for Children is pleased with the Governor’s proposed budget and looks forward to working with the General Assembly to implement these allocations through the budget and appropriations process in the next few months.

Child Nutrition

One of these key investments is Universal School Breakfast, a key pillar of the advocacy work of Allies for Children. We are incredibly thrilled to see the Governor recognize the importance of having children start their days fueled up and ready to go. We look forward to working with partners, the General Assembly and the Shapiro Administration to get Universal School Breakfast fully funded and implemented into our schools.

In addition to school breakfast, the administration also proposed expanding the Free and Reduced Lunch program to remove the “reduced” category, so those students would automatically qualify for free school meals. The Governor proposed $38.5 million for Universal School Breakfast and expanding school lunch.

Early Learning and Thriving PA

The Governor’s Budget includes funding for early learning, home visiting, and early intervention programs. We join our colleagues in the Early Learning PA campaign who encourage the General Assembly to go above and beyond these levels to ensure that our youngest children and their families are supported and provided the best opportunities to grow and thrive. Specific details include:

  • $30 million in additional funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts program to boost reimbursement rates by nearly $1,000 per child (full-day) / $500 per child (part-day)
  • $3 million in additional funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program to boost cost per child
  • $66.7 million in new funding for the state’s Child Care Services line item to maintain subsidized child care access to 75,000 low-income working families and sustain Child Care Works reimbursements to meet or exceed rates at the 60th percentile of the market rate for child care
  • Level funding for evidence-based home visiting in the Community-Based Family Centers line item as well as level funding for the Nurse Family Partnership line
  • $10.4 million increase for the Part B Early Intervention (age three to five) program through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)
  • $20 million increase funding for the Part C Early Intervention (infant and toddler) program through Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS)
  • $2.3 million increase to expand Maternal Health Programing, implementing strategies outlined by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC)

On the heels of the court decision that says the commonwealth is not allocating enough dollars into our K-12 education system, the Governor proposed increases in Basic Education Funding, Special Education Funding, Career and Technical Education (CTE), and created a new line item for Mental Health grants. Specific allocations include:

  • $567 million increase for Basic Education Funding
  • $104 million increase for Special Education Funding
  • $24 million increase for CTE, including $14 million for the CTE subsidy line and $7 million increase for developing additional CTE programs and attracting more industry professionals to the classroom. The Governor also included an additional $3 million for increasing the CTE Equipment Grants, and there is additional funding in the budget to support job training and apprenticeship programs.
  • $100 million for school safety and security grants
  • $100 million for a new initiative that would match a school’s environmental repairs and improvements. If enacted, this would be the first attempt to address these costs since PlanCon faced its moratorium in 2016.

To view Allegheny County school district estimated allocations, see this chart. Please remember, these are just estimates and specific funding allocations will be determined by the General Assembly through the budget and appropriations process over the next few months.

Department of Education Budget Information
The Budget Process in Pennsylvania
2023-2024 Commonwealth Budget
Senate Republicans React to Budget
Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Statement on Budget
Pennsylvania Partnership for Children 2023-2024 Budget Proposal

Jamie Baxter, Allies for Children Executive Director