Columbia County Pre-K for PA Provider Columbia Child Development Head Start Welcomes Sen. Gordner at End of Year Event
Bloomsburg, PA (June 1, 2016) – As priorities in the 2016-17 fiscal year budget negotiations are being identified in Harrisburg, Pre-K for PA provider Columbia Child Development Head Start celebrated the end of the school year alongside PA State Senator John Gordner today.
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 Blair Hyatt, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Head Start Association, 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. Columbia County has more than 860 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds and a staggering 68 percent of them – 591 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.