During a visit to an elementary school in Reading, Gov. Josh Shapiro ceremonially signed the 2023-24 budget bill to provide universal free breakfast to nearly 1.7 million Pennsylvania public school students across the Commonwealth.
Shapiro and Education Secretary Dr. Khalid Mumin also highlighted the critical investments the bipartisan budget makes in K-12 public schools, including the largest increase in basic education funding (BEF) in Pennsylvania history.
The budget includes a $567 million increase in BEF for Pennsylvania school districts – the largest BEF increase in Pennsylvania history – and a $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfast to Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million public school students regardless of income, and free lunch to all 22,000 Pennsylvania students who are eligible for reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program.
“We can’t expect our kids to pay attention in class, learn and have the best opportunities to succeed if they haven’t eaten all day – which is why I proposed providing free breakfast to every child in our public schools in my first budget address,” Shapiro said. “Every public school will be able to give free breakfast to every student starting on the first day of school this year.”
In addition to the $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfast and the $567 million increase in BEF funding for Pennsylvania school districts, this budget invests a $50 million increase in special education funding, and a $23.5 million investment in workforce training and vo-tech programs to help expand our workforce and empower students to chart their own course.
“Students and underfunded schools are going to get the basic resources that they need – and with a $46 million investment, students who come to school with an empty stomach are going to get a free breakfast no matter their family’s income,” Mumin, a former superintendent in the Reading School District, said.
For more information on the investments made in this commonsense, bipartisan budget, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov.