Bucks County Pre-K for PA Provider Jolly Toddlers Welcomes Rep. Farry at End of Year Event
Southampton, PA (June 3, 2016) – As priorities in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget negotiations are being identified in Harrisburg, Pre-K for PA provider Jolly Toddlers celebrated the end of the school year alongside PA State Representative Frank Farry today.
“The benefits of pre-k learning last a lifetime,” said Rep. Farry. “Investing in quality early learning programs, like Jolly Toddlers, will help us close the achievement gap, increase graduation rates, create productive citizens, and make Pennsylvania a place where all children have access to a quality education.”
Studies show that children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not.
Pre-K for PA providers across the state support continued investment in pre-k, and are urging the Pennsylvania legislature and the governor to expand access to thousands of at-risk kids in the final 2016-17 budget. Specifically, they are calling for $90 million in additional funding part of the 2016-17 final state budget.
“A multi-year goal for growing access to high-quality pre-k for all of the income eligible children and begin looking at pre-k affordability issues regarding middle class families must be identified as an urgent priority at the negotiating table this month,” said Jodi Askins, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC), a Pre-K for PA Principal Partner.
While the 2015-16 budget investment was a positive step, the fact remains that more than 120,000 income eligible 3- and 4-year-olds do not have access each year due to insufficient funding.
The 2015-16 state budget included $30 million in additional funding for PA Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs – expanding access to more than 6,000 at-risk children. Bucks County has almost 5,400 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds and a staggering 82 percent of them – 4,446 children – lacked access to publicly funded, high-quality pre-k last year.
Across Pennsylvania, there are more than 175,000 3- and 4-year-olds who are at-risk because they are in lower income households—70 percent of these at-risk young learners – more than 120,000 children statewide – had no access to publicly funded pre-k last year.
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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