Delaware County Daily Times: Democrats Push for Expanded Pre-k Access
October 14, 2016 by Kevin Tustin

NETHER Providence >> Democratic leaders from all levels of government convened Friday afternoon for a discussion about pre-kindergarten services in the state and country and how to make them more accessible. Their solution for expanding access? Elect more Democrats.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., met with state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161 of Swarthmore, 9th District state Senate candidate Marty Malloy, state rep candidate in the 165th District Elaine Schaefer and state rep candidate for the 168th District Diane Cornman-Levy along with pre-K teachers and advocates on the “economic imperative” and “moral gravity” for the early education program.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I’m encouraged because you’re bringing the issue to this campaign,” said Casey to the education advocates at Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford.

According to the Pre-K for PA campaign, 77 percent of Delaware County children are eligible for publicly-funded pre-K, but there isn’t enough money from the state to give them access. Statewide, 66 percent still aren’t receiving quality Pre-K education despite a $30 million increase in state funding (to $147 million) for the current fiscal year.

Advocates claim that every $1 invested in Pre-K returns $17 back locally, there is a fight to get it funded across the aisle.

“(Republicans) totally say they’re going to fund it, they’re all behind it, and then when they get in office they go with the flow of their leadership,” said Schaefer.

“They like it until they have to vote for it, so they vote no,” Krueger added.

Krueger’s claim was backed up by Casey explaining when the Senate voted last year on his amendment to get $25 billion appropriated for Pre-K it was defeated along party lines with 52 Republican no votes trumping 45 Democratic yes votes.

“Despite that loss, I was really happy we had that vote because it put us on the record as a legislative body in the United States Senate on a big issue and a major commitment, and now we know where people stand,” Casey said.

Advocate Shawn Towey asked of the (potential) lawmakers how to get even moderate Republicans to support pre-K.

Read the full article here.