PennLive: In another tight state budget year, advocates make case for preschool funding
January 25, 2017 by Charlie Thompson

In a tight budget year, one group that still feels confident enough to ask for growth in state funding are advocates for expanded access to preschool programs.

Leaders of the Pre-K for PA coalition pressed their case at the Capitol Tuesday at a rally headlined by two native-son athletes, Penn State and Pittsburgh Steeler great Franco Harris and Olympic wrestler Bruce Baumgartner.

Pre-school initiatives received a $30 million boost from Gov. Tom Wolf and legislators in the 2016-17 budget, for a total of more than $190 million in the state’s Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs.

Including federal- and locally-funded programs, about 64,000 low- and moderate-income children are served through quality publicly-funded programming.

The coalition, however, estimates there are still nearly twice that many kids unserved. Advocates are pressing state officials to continue working to close that gap this year, asking for an increase of $85 million.

Wolf has consistently said this winter that he will look to continue his pattern of increasing state investment in education.

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