Pennsylvania’s school facilities funding update

AIA Pennsylvania has been hard at work throughout the 2023-2024 session advocating for appropriations for PlanCon 2.0 and funding for school facilities. We have testified before the House and Senate Education Committees and the Basic Education Funding Commission. While these updates are not exactly what we have advocated for, we view them as a step in the right direction and a starting point for this year’s advocacy. A special thanks to our School Construction Task Force for all the work put into testimony and advocacy this session so far.

In December of 2023, the General Assembly passed the Fiscal Code (Act 34 of 2023) and the School Code (Act 33 of 2023) both with funding for school facilities. The law allocates $75 million to the School Environmental Repairs Program and $100 million to the Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program to be administered through the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

In addition to these two grant programs, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) released its findings last week. One of the recommendations from the BEFC is to Invest in School Facilities through PlanCon 2.0 for new construction and major renovations, the Environmental Repair Grant Program, and the School Facility Improvement Grant Program

The Commission recommends a minimum of $300 million annually ($2 billion over seven years) to be invested into these programs during the annual budget process. While these numbers are a recommendation from a bi-partisan commission, this allocation will likely be part of budget negotiations between the two chambers and the Governor’s office for the 2024 budget.

In addition to these two grant programs, the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) released its findings in January. One of the recommendations from the BEFC is to Invest in School Facilities through PlanCon 2.0 for new construction and major renovations, the Environmental Repair Grant Program, and the School Facility Improvement Grant Program.

The Commission recommends a minimum of $300 million annually ($2 billion over seven years) to be invested into these programs during the annual budget process. While these numbers are a recommendation from a bi-partisan commission, this allocation will likely be part of budget negotiations between the two chambers and the Governor’s office for the 2024 budget.

Below is a table highlighting what the School Environmental Repairs Program and Public School Facility Improvement Grant Program funds can be used for and how they will be administered.