Lancaster Online: Letter to the Editor: Wolf pre-K funding would serve Pa. well

Reducing crime and limiting its future costs are some of the key reasons Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican lawmakers included increased funding for high-quality pre-K in their respective budget plans.

There is good reason for making this increased investment. High school dropouts are three and a half times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times as likely to be incarcerated. Pennsylvania houses nearly 50,000 state prison inmates costing the commonwealth about $2 billion each year. Half of these inmates failed to earn a high school diploma.

Research is clear that front-end education investments in high-quality pre-K improve graduation rates and help prepare kids for more successful lives.

The Republican budget plan would provide access to an additional 3,500 of the more than 200,000 3- and 4-year olds in our state who lack access to high-quality pre-K each year. That includes 79 percent, or about 11,000 of Lancaster County’s 14,000 3- and 4-year-olds who do not have access to high-quality pre-K because it doesn’t exist nearby or their families cannot afford it.

While we certainly commend the Legislature for this added investment, the 175 district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs throughout Pennsylvania who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids are hopeful that a final state budget will allocate additional resources as Gov. Wolf has proposed to serve an additional 14,000 at-risk children who lack access to high-quality pre-K. For law enforcement, this would be filling a crime-prevention gap.

Bruce R. Clash

Pennsylvania State Director

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

Harrisburg

Read the Letter to the Editor here.

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