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Pa. Education Funding

Alongside Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget address Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are trying to help attract more teachers into public schools.

The main problem for Pennsylvania’s beleaguered public schools starts with keeping teachers on staff.

During a bipartisan announcement Tuesday, house members discussed a package of bills meant to help reverse the keystone state’s shrinking workforce of teachers.

It includes bills proposing raising the salary floor for teachers to $60,000, providing up to $40,000 in student loan forgiveness, and up to $32,000 for those who collect on a new scholarship.

Rep. Jim Rigby, R-Cambria, is also proposing helping teacher’s aides get the education they need to become certified teachers.

It comes as the state has seen teaching certificates for instate graduates go down 64% in 10 years, according to state data. While overall Pennsylvania ranks 11th in average teacher salary, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a wide disparity. While the highest-paying district in the state averages $122,000, about 40% of the state’s districts have teachers earning an average of less than $45,000, according to the Pennsylvania State Education Association.

A recent court ruling is forcing lawmakers to solve the funding disparities gap.

Shapiro’s budget increases overall funding for K-12 schools by more than $1 billion, including tax cuts for teachers.

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