The state Senate today approved a fiscally responsible budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 that holds the line on spending, increases funding for school safety and security initiatives, and includes no new taxes, according to Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35), who supported the measure.
The budget includes $60 million in new money for initiatives to protect schools and students, an issue that Langerholc has been on the forefront of in recent months.
“Earlier in the year, I made it a point to talk to school officials in the 35th district about their ideas on school safety. It was evident that we need to dedicate funding to empower our schools to address the mental health needs of students,” Langerholc said. “I am pleased the School Safety and Security Grant Program includes, as one of the approved uses of funds, Senate Bill 1213, that Senator McGarrigle and I introduced, which enables school districts to hire mental health professionals to focus those needs.”
“School districts would be able to apply for grants to undertake these important services, as well as pay for physical upgrades to school buildings, hire school security guards and implement education programs to address school violence,” Langerholc said. “The emphasis here is providing local control to allow each school district to evaluate its needs and vulnerabilities and apply for funding to shore up any weaknesses that exist.”
Additional funding is also included for the Pennsylvania State Police to train three new cadet classes, which will result in nearly 300 additional troopers.
Other highlights include additional funding for:
- Services for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
- Home and community-based services for an additional 5,230 seniors and those with physical disabilities.
- Child care services for an additional 1,600 children.
- Home visit services for 800 families impacted by the opioid epidemic.
- Career and Technical Education to ensure Pennsylvania’s workforce keeps pace with the demands of the labor market.
The budget also recognizes the importance of three industries that have historically been among Pennsylvania’s most critical sectors of the economy: agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, restoring funding that the Governor’s original budget plan cut.
“Passing a fiscally responsible budget this year is an absolute necessity in the face of the daunting challenges we will face in the years to come,” Langerholc said. “But with those challenges come new opportunities that could set our Commonwealth on the path to a brighter economic future.”