Thoughts on Gov. Shapiro’s Proposed 2024-25 Budget

(February 9, 2024)

On February 6, Governor Shapiro released the 2024-2025 budget proposal to the General Assembly. This proposal, if enacted by the General Assembly, would provide significant increases in Basic Education Funding and minimal increased investments in other areas that impact children, such as career and technical education, special education, early intervention, and early learning.

It is important to note that the Governor’s budget proposal is simply that – a proposal that outlines where he would like the General Assembly to allocate resources during the budget and appropriations process. The budget and appropriations process will occur over the next few months and the General Assembly will work on a final budget with the goal of it being completed at the end of June.

Details of the Governor’s Budget are below:


The biggest highlight within the Governor’s Budget includes a significant increase in Basic Education Funding. The Governor proposes to increase the BEF line-item by $1.1 billion. This funding includes $200 million which would be distributed through the formula, and $872 million which would be distributed through a newly developed adequacy formula as proposed in the Basic Education Funding Commission’s final report. While every school district in Allegheny County would see an increase in funding under the Governor’s proposal, most districts, except Avonworth, Chartiers Valley, Fox Chapel, Hampton Township, Montour, North Allegheny, Pine Richland, Pittsburgh, Plum Borough, and Quaker Valley, would receive additional funds through the adequacy formula. You can view all estimated allocations from the PA Department of Education here. And Allegheny County specific allocations here.

Since the Basic Education Funding Commission’s report (see our recent blog) passed on party lines with only Democrats voting for its approval and the Republican-supported proposal did not include an adequacy formula, time will tell if the Governor’s proposal will make its way through the Republican-controlled Senate and the split-party House.

Another highlight of the education budget is the inclusion of $11.5 million for the Building Opportunity through Out of School Time (BOOST) program. If enacted, this would create a dedicated funding stream for out-of-school time programming, who currently do not receive any state-level funding. This program almost made it into the finalized budget last year but unfortunately was removed at the last minute. Hopefully this year it can be completed and the General Assembly will begin to invest in these crucial programs.

Additional proposed allocations for K-12 education included:

  • $50 million increase for Special Education
  • $2.3 million increase in CTE, plus $7 million for dual enrollment programs and $15 million for CTE equipment grants
  • $50 million level funding for school safety and security grants
  • $300 million for the newly created School Environmental Repairs Program
  • $3 million in new funding to provide menstrual hygiene products in schools

Child Nutrition

We thank Governor Shapiro for being a champion for Universal Free School Breakfast in the Commonwealth, a key pillar of the advocacy work of Allies for Children. We are excited to see the Governor continue to support Free Universal Breakfast in PA in his 2024-25 budget, and for the children of PA to continue to benefit from free school breakfasts by starting the day fueled up and ready to learn. In the future, we hope to see Governor Shapiro expand his support for universal school meals for all by supporting universal free school lunch, so that children can receive the nutrition they need to succeed throughout the day.

Allies for Children was glad to see Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposed $3 million in state funds to ensure seamless implementation and administration of the new Summer EBT program, bridging the gap of food insecurity during the summer months when schools are closed for K-12 students. This program will provide lunch to school-aged children who are income-eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Mental Health

We continue to be in the midst of a mental health crisis and Governor Shapiro’s proposal acknowledges that schools need additional assistance to provide access and support to children. The Governor proposed a continued investment of $100 million in mental health funding for schools. Funds are expected to be distributed in the following way:

  • $90 million to school districts through noncompetitive grants. This funding is expected to be distributed similarly to previous years.
  • $5 million for workforce development, which could be used to hire additional staff or maintain the current mental health staff and contracting services to community or non-profit organizations.
  • $5 million for behavioral health workers, nurses, and counselors to finish their education or to support internships for those pursuing state certifications in the field.

Child Welfare

The proposed budget for child welfare is essentially flat with only a $2 million, .14%, increase. Allies for Children will work with partners, the Shapiro Administration, and legislators to understand why this proposal was so low and to advocate for additional investments in child welfare.

Early Learning and Thriving PA

Governor Shapiro’s proposed budget includes funding for early learning, home visiting, early intervention, and maternal & child health programs. Specific details of the governor’s budget as proposed are as follows:

  • Much-needed aid to Pre-K providers to combat inflationary pressures and unrelenting staffing shortages, specifically:
    • $32.478 million in additional funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts program
    • $2.7 million in additional funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.
  • Increasing the childcare subsidy (known as Child Care Works) reimbursement rate to the 75th percentile of the current market rate of childcare services ($29.331 million in the Child Care Services line item and $2.378 million in the Child Care Assistance line item).
  • Level funding for evidence-based home visiting in the Community-Based Family Centers line item and a minor reduction in the Nurse-Family Partnership line item to adjust for federal matching rates.
  • $16.7 million increase for the Early Intervention Part C program (infant and toddler) through DHS to maintain the current program.
  • $17 million increase for the Part B Early Intervention program (age three to five) through PDE to serve additional children.
  • $277.9 million in federal funding was noted for WIC, consistent with funding from last year’s budget.
  • A $14 million budgetary increase for CHIP, a 21% increase from last year.

We join our colleagues in the Early Learning PA Coalition 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. For example, we’ll work with our campaign partners so that our legislators see the essential need to invest in programs like home visiting, where we are concerned that the Governor’s proposal will lead to fewer home visiting services for Pennsylvania’s families in 2024-25.

Funding Summary

For more information visit:

Early Learning PA
PA Partnerships for Children
PA Department of Education
Spotlight PA