Education

Over the course of his career, Senator Costa has been a strong, effective promoter of education. Having successfully sought additional funding for K-12 education, higher education and pre-school he is recognized as one of the General Assembly’s leaders in education.

The Senate Democratic Caucus has consistently voted for common sense public education improvement initiatives including Pre-K, full day kindergarten, smaller class size and tutoring assistance that have resulted in increased test scores in math and reading for Pennsylvania students. The caucus has worked to include greater funding for community colleges that provide job training and college studies for workers and students close to home.

Legislation I’m Working On

Senate Bill 144 – Keystone Telepresence Education Grant

We all stress the importance of a quality education. Sadly, that quality is often diminished for students who are medically unable to attend school. Greater use of telepresence technology can counter these diminished results and better support the educational, social and emotional needs of homebound students.

Senate Bill 111 – Pennsylvania Promise

The Pennsylvania Promise will be administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and will cover tuition and fees for recent high school graduates attending one of the 14 community colleges and tuition and fees at a state-owned or state-related university for students with a family income of $110,000 or less per year. Students whose family income is $48,000 or less will also be eligible for assistance with costs associated with room and board.

Senate Bill 400 – PA Student HELP Act

The Pennsylvania Promise will be administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and will cover tuition and fees for recent high school graduates attending one of the 14 community colleges and tuition and fees at a state-owned or state-related university for students with a family income of $110,000 or less per year. Students whose family income is $48,000 or less will also be eligible for assistance with costs associated with room and board.

What Senator Costa & the Senate Democrats have done:

Make a Commitment to Fund Schools at the State Level

Pennsylvania’s constitution requires that, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.” This is not a requirement that the Legislature is fulfilling. While the Senate Democrats have prioritized education funding and made great strides at increases, we still have not achieved the goal of funding public education by 50% at the state level.

Make Higher Ed Accessible

Higher Education has become integral in today’s high-tech, internationally competitive workplace. However, Pennsylvania now has the 2nd highest student tuition debt among the states, indicating a system that is costly and prohibitive to enter. Community colleges and state system of higher education must be made more affordable so that everyone that wants to continue their education past high school has an opportunity to do so.

Ensure that Children are Prepared for School

Early childhood education and pre-K, after school and tutoring programs, nutrition and health supports, among other social services provide an important source of assistance to make sure that children are not just in the classroom, but ready to learn.

Retain Highly Skilled and Experienced Educators

Teachers are the backbone of the education system. They must be protected from vicious and unfair ideological attacks and provided with safe working conditions, reasonable compensation and benefits, and ongoing professional development opportunities so that they remain on the cutting edge of their practice.

Latest News

Senator Costa Celebrates Fresh Food Grants to Local Schools

Senator Costa Celebrates Fresh Food Grants to Local Schools

PITTSBURGH, PA – July 15, 2019 – Today, Senator Jay Costa announced the award of federal grants to local elementary schools to fund healthy, fresh food programs for students. “Our young students can’t learn properly if they aren’t properly fed,” said Senator Costa. “A...

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Senator Costa Statement on Penn Hill School District

Senator Costa Statement on Penn Hill School District

Pittsburgh, PA − January 16, 2019 − Senator Costa released the below statement on Penn Hill School District:

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that the Penn Hills School District will be taking its next steps toward complete financial recovery by entering the Commonwealth’s Financial Recovery Program. While in financial watch status PDE identified several areas that the district can improve upon to put it on solid financial footing. This new program will bring expert staff and new resources to Penn Hills to ensure that they stay on course to full financial recovery, while maintaining local control. 

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Senate Democrats Hail New Basic Education Funding Formula

Harrisburg, June 18, 2015 − Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny), Sens. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) and Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry) who serve as members of the Basic Education Funding Commission (BEFC) today hailed the new proposed statewide education funding formula as a responsible, predicable and equitable approach that would improve education for all students.

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