Jun. 25, 2021

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) issued the following statement regarding the passage of the 2021-22 state budget:

“The children in the Commonwealth are our future in making Pennsylvania successful, and it’s crucial to protect them at all costs. It’s our job to make sure we provide them with the necessary tools to receive a safe and quality education, no matter if it is at a public, private or charter school.

“The budget for PreK-12 education would be $13.55 billion, which is a record high. The Basic Education Funding line would increase by $300 million. Early childhood education funding, which includes Pre-K and Head Start, would increase by $30 million while special education funding would increase by $50 million. It’s never a bad time to start educating children at a young age. This helps accelerate their learning curve, which in turn leads to greater educational development.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a very difficult environment for our children to learn. That’s why I, along with my colleagues, successfully pushed for $350 million in federal relief funding to address learning loss, summer enrichment and after school programs. Missed learning opportunities are detrimental. This funding will help children get back everything they have missed.

“Students and families should have choice when it comes to education. That is why this budget includes a 22% increase, or $40 million more, to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit. This would offer scholarship money to schools of choice. The budget would also support a system redesign of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) by devoting $50 million in federal relief funding to assist with integration.

“Every child’s life and right to education matters. I’m pleased that we were able to pass a budget that puts a big emphasis on getting students back to the classroom. This budget will put them in a terrific position to flourish. Today’s students will become tomorrow’s doctors, engineers, businesspersons, technicians and beyond.”

Representative R. Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Nate Temple