PA Budget Increases Can Help School Districts Fight Inflation, Spending – Butler Eagle

Students cheer on their classmates in a competition in limbo during games and field day in May at Mars Area Middle School in Adams Township. Joseph Ressler / Butler Eagle

A significant increase in school funding in the 2022-2023 state budget is welcome relief for inflation-hit Butler County school districts.

Approved by Governor Tom Wolf on July 8, the Pennsylvania state budget, which allocates a total of more than $7.6 billion to the basic education funding category and $225 million to complete school districts with higher-risk student populations, resulted in a more than $767 million — or 10.83% — increase over the 2021-22 funds allocated to schools. The increase in the Basic Education Funding category alone is over $542 million, or 7.66%.

An additional $1.3 billion is allocated to special education, representing an 8.1% increase over the 2021-22 state budget for the category.

Some raises a surprise

Debbie Brandstetter, business manager for the Mars Area School District, said she anticipated some of the funding increases when planning the Mars Area budget for 2022-23.

“I already had most of it (special education funding) in my budget because I had budgeted for a 2% increase,” she said. “Last year it was 2%, and they said there would be an increase in funding.”

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