Bipartisan Budget Agreement a Victory for Kids, $30 Million Pre-K Investment Will Serve Thousands More Young Learners
Early Learning Programs Get Significant Boost in 2017-18
HARRISBURG (June 30, 2017)— The Pre-K for PA campaign called the $30 million investment in pre-k as part of the 2017-18 state budget agreement a momentum-building moment, making significant progress towards the goal of expanding access to all children eligible for Pre-K Counts and Head Start. The investment will open access to high-quality pre-k for thousands more three- and four-year-olds across the commonwealth.
The principal partners of Pre-K for PA issued the following statement regarding the investment:
“Governor Wolf along with Democrat and Republican legislators deserve a tremendous amount of credit for prioritizing the commonwealth’s three- and four-year-olds by investing $30 million in high-quality pre-k, to serve thousands more of the commonwealth’s youngest learners.
“Elected officials from both sides of the aisle have increasingly understood that expanded investment in high-quality pre-k programs is an effective long-term strategy to ensure that our next generation is ready to succeed. Access to a high-quality pre-k experience also reaps significant cost savings in the future in the form of less public spending on special education, social welfare programs, and criminal justice.
“In this difficult budget cycle, we commend the governor and legislature for their strong commitment to early learning programs. FY 17-18 state funding for child care and home visiting were at risk through this process but policymakers boosted funding for both in addition to the increase in pre-k. The stronger the investment in high-quality early learning – including pre-k, child care, and home visiting – the greater the return – for our children and our commonwealth.”
The 2017-18 spending plan includes the following expanded investments to early learning:
- Increases Pre-K Counts investment: $25 million
- Increases investment in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program: $5 million
- Restores 2016-17 cut to Child Care Services: $20 million
- New investment in evidenced-based home visiting: $4.77 million