Leaders in Harrisburg Get it! Continued Investment in Pre-K Will Serve Thousands More Young Learners
Early Learning Programs get Significant Boost in 2018-19
Harrisburg, PA (June 22, 2018)– The Pre-K for PA campaign called the additional $25 million investment in pre-kindergarten programs contained in the 2018-19 state budget agreement continued progress toward something that Pennsylvanians universally support – early education.
A poll commissioned by the Pre-K for PA campaign done by Harper Polling in May showed 75% of likely voters support increasing funding to expand access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten, while 94% of voters believe that early education is important.
The principal partners of Pre-K for PA issued the following statement regarding the investment:
“Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators made a wise investment in Pennsylvania’s early education system and clearly prioritized our state’s youngest learners in this budget. While the 2018-19 Pennsylvania state budget grew by just 1.7%, leaders in Harrisburg grew high-quality pre-k funding by 11%, high-quality child care services grew by 4%, and home visiting grew by an impressive and much needed 33%. This year’s budget istestament to the fact that Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators, understand their constituents’ priorities.
“Still, more than 106,000 eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k due to limited state funding. This budget increase will allow access to thousands of 3- and 4-year-old students in the upcoming school year. It is a step in the right direction, but we still have much work to be done as Pennsylvania lags far behind neighboring states.
“Today, Pennsylvania ranks 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. New Jersey is spending five times more per capita than PA and West Virginia is leaps ahead of us – it has had universal access for pre-k aged kids since 2012. We have to ramp up our investment in the coming years because, as we know, the tens of thousands of kids missing out won’t get a do-over.”
The 2018-19 spending plan included the following expanded investments to early learning:
- Increases Pre-K Counts investment: $20 million
- Increases investment in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program: $5 million
- Increases investment in Child Care Services: $6.8 million
- New investment in home visiting programs: $6.735 million
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.