Pennsylvania Senate Committee Approves Career and Technical Education Funding Bill

PA CapitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — On Tuesday, Senator Lindsey M. Williams’ Career and Technical Education (CTE) Funding Bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously. The bill, known as Senate Bill 366, aims to provide greater budget predictability for Career and Technical Centers (CTCs) by fixing the data used to calculate CTE funding on June 1 of each year.

“Career and Technical Education gives students across Pennsylvania hands-on workforce training and credentialing that leads to family-sustaining careers, often at low- or no-cost to students,” said Senator Williams. “This administrative change will give our CTCs the financial predictability they need to offer or expand programs that prepare students for in-demand jobs in the trades, healthcare, education, food preparation, and more.”

Addressing Funding Predictability

Senate Bill 366 amends the Public School Code of 1949, specifically concerning reimbursements made by the Commonwealth to school districts for students enrolled in CTE programs. Currently, the funding formula relies on the most recent data available from the state, leading to unpredictable budgets for CTCs. By fixing the funding data on June 1, the bill aligns CTE funding with existing formulas for Special Education and Basic Education, giving CTCs a more stable financial outlook.

Bipartisan Support

The bill has garnered bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by all six Senate members of the Basic Education Funding Commission. These include Sen. David Argall, Majority Chair of the Senate Education Committee; Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, BEFC Co-Chair; Sen. Vincent Hughes, Minority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Sen. Nick Miller; and Sen. Greg Rothman.

Testimonies Highlight Challenges

During a hearing hosted by Senator Williams at Pittsburgh Public Schools Westinghouse, Dr. Darby Copeland, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Career & Technical Administrators and Executive Director of Parkway West, testified on the challenges faced by CTCs. He noted that the current funding method leaves CTCs “unable to open new programs necessary to support regional workforce and economic development.” Unpredictable funding also hinders CTCs from updating facilities, increasing student enrollment, and offering new programs.

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Aligning with Educational Goals

Senator Williams emphasized how CTE fits into a constitutional system of public education by fully and fairly funding resources that students need to succeed. The proposed legislation aims to address these funding issues, thereby supporting regional workforce development and economic growth.

Next Steps

Senate Bill 366 now moves to the Appropriations Committee. If it passes, CTC administrators and business managers will have the additional time needed to plan and budget effectively for the coming year.

This legislative effort highlights the critical role of CTE in preparing students for the workforce and its impact on regional economic development. By providing predictable funding, Senate Bill 366 seeks to enhance the ability of CTCs to plan, grow, and meet the educational and economic needs of Pennsylvania.

Senator Williams and her colleagues believe that this measure will help build a stronger, more adaptable educational system that better serves both students and the broader community.

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