Gov. Wolf Ramps Up Pre-K Investment, Opens Opportunity to Thousands More PA Children
2019-20 State Budget proposal includes $50 million for pre-k programs

Harrisburg, PA (February 5, 2019)– Pre-K for PA marked the proposed new investment of $50 million in the 2019-20 PA budget as a big win for thousands of Pennsylvania’s youngest children. In a statement, the eleven principal partners leading the campaign to increase funding for high-quality pre-k, Pre-K for PA, issued the following statement regarding Governor Tom Wolf’s continued commitment to expanding access to pre-k in Pennsylvania:

“Governor Wolf demonstrated and amplified his commitment to expanding access to publicly funded pre-k by proposing funding to support thousands of additional young learners to attend high-quality programs.

“As we kick off our sixth year, Pre-K for PA—representing more than 25,000 individual supporters across Pennsylvania—is optimistic that the legislature will support this bi-partisan budget priority; members from both sides of the aisle have consistently supported expanding access to this valuable once-in-a-lifetime educational experience.  Supporting increased funding for high-quality pre-k is a wise investment and good politics, as a recent Pre-K for PA poll showed 94 percent of Pennsylvanians agreed that early childhood education is important.

“Our celebration of the $50 million investment in pre-k programs in the 2019-20 state budget is tempered by the harsh reality that PA ranks 18thof the 30 states investing in high-quality pre-k, and with this new investment, about 100,000 eligible children still lack access.

“In Pennsylvania, publicly funded pre-k and high-quality child care are inextricably linked, with 48 percent of children enrolled in Pre-K Counts served by STAR 3 and 4 child care providers. Governor’s Wolf’s budget includes a plan for spending about $101 million in federal child care funds and reduced state child care funding by $150,000. It is important that Pennsylvania lawmakers recognize high-quality child care as a vital workforce support for young Pennsylvania families and a delivery system for high-quality pre-k.

“We salute Governor Wolf for making high-quality pre-k funding a budget priority, and we strongly encourage the legislature to fully-fund it.”

The 2019-20 proposed budget includes the following expanded investments to early learning:

  • Increases PA Pre-K Counts investment: $40 million
  • Increases investment in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program: $10 million
  • Increase in Federal Funding to support child care services: $101 million
  • Increase of $5 million to support Evidence-based Home Visiting services

Pre-K for PA is an initiative of Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA), a statewide coalition of advocates focused on supporting young Pennsylvanians from birth to age five. ELPA also advocates for expanding Evidence-based Home Visiting Services via the Childhood Begins at Home Campaign, and the coalition recently launched Start Strong PA, a statewide advocacy campaign to increase access to affordable, high-quality child care for Pennsylvania’s families and their children, starting with infants and toddlers.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity.  Its vision is that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. For more information visit www.prekforpa.org. 

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