Education Highlights from Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 Budget Address

Below are some education highlights from Governor Wolf’s  2016-17 budget address (2016-17 ED Budget details):

Basic Education

  • $200 million (3.28%) increase above the assumed $377 million increase in 2015-16, for a total of $6.3 billion to be distributed using the funding formula created by the Basic Education Funding Commission.

 Special Education

  • $50 million (4.56%) increase in addition to the assumed $50 million increase in 2015-16, for a total of $1.146 billion (details on Special Education Funding formula and district allotments here).

Career and Technical Education

  • $15 million in additional support for the establishment and expansion of high-quality CTE programs. Includes $5 million for CTE equipment grants to support updating or purchasing new equipment used in the training of students.

 Career Counselors

  • $8 million to help school districts offer college and career counseling in middle and high schools.


  • Funding for state and federal testing programs receives a 1.8% increase for a total of $59.3 million.

Teacher Professional Development

  • Level funded at $7.46 million.

Early Childhood

  • $60 million (30.5%) increase for early childhood programs.
  •  Additional $50 million for Pre-K Counts for a total of $197.2 million.
  • $10 million more for a total of $59.1 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.

 The 206-17 budget also proposes the following accountability initiatives:

  • Current School Performance Profile (SPP) system will be revised to take into account student growth, opportunities for advanced study, industry benchmarks, and student behaviors, like attendance, that impact school success and show less reliance of test scores.
  • PA Department of Education (PDE) will devote full-time resources and supports to address the needs of the state’s persistently low-performing schools and establish an Office of School Improvement (OSI).
  • Implements the recommendations of the Special Education Funding Commission by adjusting charter school reimbursements to better reflect actual costs of educating students with special needs. This change will be phased in over the next three years and result in more than $180 million in savings to school districts.
  • Implements funding changes for cyber charter schools that would save $50 million annually for school districts across the commonwealth.
  • Eliminates the state portion of the reimbursement to charter schools for employer retirement contribution costs (makes no changes to the requirement for school districts to pay 100% of these costs for charters).
  • Includes a requirement for an annual reconciliation where charter and cyber charter schools will refund money to their sending school districts if the charter school’s audited expenditures are less than its tuition revenue.

All components of 2016-17 budget can be viewed at:


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