WATCH: Gov. Josh Shapiro Hails Historic Public Education Investment and Universal Free Breakfasts in Schools

Gov. Josh Shapiro Press Conference

Gov. Josh Shapiro speaking at a press conference in the Pennsylvania State Capitol on July 6, 2023. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

September 25, 2023

In an exclusive interview with The Keystone, Gov. Josh Shapiro speaks about the historic investments in education funding and the creation of the universal free breakfast program for public school students across the commonwealth. 

In his first year as governor, Gov. Josh Shapiro secured historic spending increases in basic education funding and universal free breakfasts for public school students throughout the commonwealth. 

Last week, Shapiro sat down for an exclusive interview with Allan Piper for The Keystone and highlighted the historic investments in education.

“This budget, just to give you some perspective, invests more in public education than at any point in our Commonwealth’s history,” Shapiro said. 

“I believe Pennsylvania should be a place where students, workers, everyone should have the freedom to chart their own course and the opportunity to succeed. And one of the best ways we can do that is by investing in our public schools.”


Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first budget as governor of Pennsylvania includes historic investments in public education. It included a $567 million increase in basic education funding and a $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfasts to 1.8 million public school students across the commonwealth. In an exclusive interview with The Keystone, Shapiro talks about the importance of funding public education and the universal free breakfast program. @governorshapiro ✏️ : Sean Kitchen #Education #PublicEducation #PublicSchools #PhlEd #Pennsylvania #PAPolitics #Philadelphia #Pittsburgh #NEA #PSEA

♬ original sound – Keystone Newsroom – Keystone Newsroom

The budget included a $567 million increase in basic education funding, which was sent to school districts around the state, and a $46.5 million increase in spending to provide universal free breakfasts to Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million public school students. 

“For the first time ever, we have universal free breakfast funded through the Commonwealth,” Shapiro said. “1.8 million children in Pennsylvania, in both public schools and some private schools that participate in our free and reduced lunch programs will be able to get universal free breakfast.”

A report conducted by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children highlights the benefits of universal free breakfast programs for public school children. The report states that free school breakfasts increase access to nutritious meals and improve academic performance, concentration, memory, comprehension and learning while reducing hunger-related behavioral problems. 

Free breakfasts also reduce the stigma associated with students who access free or reduced meals compared to their classmates. 

“It’s really important to both make sure every student has a full belly and so they’re prepared to be able to learn, but also that we eliminate the stigma associated with breakfast and lunch at our schools,” Shapiro said. 

“By making sure it’s available to everybody, we eliminate that stigma and encourage everyone to participate.” 


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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