Allies for Children applauds Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2017-18 for its significant increased investments in pre-Kindergarten, K-12 public education, school breakfast and children’s health insurance. While the level of investment is less than what the children of the commonwealth need, the Governor’s proposed budget continues to increase funding for public education and children’s health. Governor Wolf’s proposal includes a $100 million increase for Basic Education Funding to be distributed through a recently enacted fair funding formula. In the enacted budgets for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17, the commonwealth increased Basic Education Funding by $200 million each year.
For more than a year, Allies for Children and the Campaign for Fair Education Funding has urged the Governor and the Legislature to achieve equitable and adequate funding for public education. The fair formula was an important step, but achieving adequacy will require an additional investment of approximately $2.8 billion. Allies for Children and the Campaign for Fair Education Funding strongly encourage the Governor and Legislature to take as big a step possible towards funding adequacy and continue distributing all new funds through the fair formula. ~Allies for Children Executive Director Patrick Dowd.
In addition, Governor Wolf today proposed increasing funding for early childhood education by $75 million.
This is a great day for pre-K, but we won’t stop advocating for increased funding levels until every child receives the chance to attend high-quality, affordable early education programs. Our children shouldn’t wait until kindergarten to begin to unlock learning opportunities in a school setting. ~Allies for Children Board of Directors President Martha Isler
The Governor has also prioritized increased participation in school breakfast programs by proposing $2 million in funding to promote and help implement alternative breakfast models.
Through alternative breakfast models, schools can feed children outside of the typical time–before the official start of school–and the usual setting–the cafeteria. When schools think creatively about serving breakfast, more children eat breakfast at school. That means children can focus on learning, rather than on hunger pangs. ~Allies for Children Health Policy Director Erika Fricke
We are also happy to see this continued investment in public health insurance programs for children. We know that when we provide health care coverage to children now, it benefits them long into the future. We have made incredible strides in children’s health care coverage in our region, and we do not want to go backwards and have children lose benefits. ~Allies for Children Health Policy Director Erika Fricke
Click here to view the proposed budget in its entirety, visit the following website.
This chart reflects the line items impacting children and youth.