Erie Times: Pre-K advocates push for more funding

By Erica Erwin
January 14, 2016

Prekindergarten advocates Thursday pushed the state to increase its commitment to making high-quality prekindergarten more accessible — and laid out a strategy to do so.

A new report, “The Case for Pre-k in PA: Smart Investment in Kids, Communities and the Commonwealth,” found that an additional investment of $370 million in high-quality pre-K over this fiscal year and the next three fiscal years would make pre-K accessible to more than 47,000 Pennsylvania 3- and 4-year-olds who are at greatest risk of academic failure.

An additional $100 million would provide high-quality pre-K to about one-fifth of 3- and 4-year-olds in middle-income households — about 23,500 children, the report by the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children found.

Taken together, a total investment of $470 million would make high-quality pre-K available to more than 40 percent of the state’s 3- and 4-year olds, compared with fewer than 20 percent who benefited in 2013.

The United Way of Erie County is one of the supporters of Erie’s Future Fund, which provides preschool scholarships to 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families. Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children estimates more than 2,400 Erie County children do not have access to high-quality pre-K.

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