Pre-K, Early Learning Advocates Urge Bi-partisan Support of 2017-18 Investment Proposal
Executive Leaders Laud Gov. Wolf’s Commitment to High-Quality Pre-K
HARRISBURG (Feb. 7, 2017)— The Pre-K for PA campaign lauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s continued commitment to expanding access to high-quality pre-k in Pennsylvania after he announced a $75 million expansion as part of his 2017-18 budget address today.
The principal partners of Pre-K for PA issued the following statement regarding this budget proposal:
“Governor Wolf, along with a large majority of legislators from both sides of the aisle, understands that continued investment in high-quality pre-k programs is an effective long-term strategy to ensure that our next generation is ready to succeed. We are gratified that he is standing up for kids in his 2017-18 budget proposal. Serving more kids with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will reap strong cost savings in the future in the form of less public spending on special education, social welfare programs and crime.
“Pre-K for PA has united a diverse collection of stakeholders across the commonwealth that are urging the governor and legislature to come together behind a budget agreement that generates enough revenue to balance the budget and makes this investment in pre-k – making 2017 the Year of the Child.”
Governor Wolf’s budget proposal included $65 million in additional funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts program and an additional $10 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. This $75 million expansion would serve more than 8,400 additional young children. Currently more than 112,000 eligible three- and four-year-olds do not have access to high-quality publicly funded pre-k programs.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following quotes are offered by members of the Pre-K for PA Executive Leadership Council. This executive-level group includes the commonwealth’s top leaders across business, civic, education, law enforcement and even national security sectors in regions across the state.
Joe Meterchick, Regional President for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey, PNC Bank
“Access to high-quality pre-kindergarten is a fundamental building block of our state’s education system and helps ensure children have the strong foundation necessary to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. As we collectively look toward our future, we encourage Pennsylvania lawmakers to prioritize a commitment to pre-k as an investment in our commonwealth.”
Nick Scott Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Scott Enterprises
“There is overwhelming evidence that when education investment begins early it helps to close the achievement gap before it is too wide and expensive to overcome. Access to quality pre-k means that children are better prepared for future learning opportunities, less likely to need special education and remedial instruction, and more likely to graduate from high school and become a valued member of the workforce. Private funding can only fill the gap so much, and I applaud legislators and Governor Wolf for prioritizing pre-k in the 2017-18 budget.”
Peter P. Brubaker, President, Hammer Creek Enterprises LLC; Commissioner PA Early Learning
“When it comes to making difficult budget decisions, our leaders in Harrisburg have demonstrated bipartisan support for continued investment in high-quality pre-k programs. In the past two budget cycles, Republicans and Democrats have prioritized pre-k and provided access for more than 6,000 young children. Governor Wolf has proposed $75 million in incremental funding to serve an additional 8,400 children in 2017. I strongly encourage our leaders in the State House and Senate to support the governor’s early childhood budget and to keep the pre-k momentum going.”
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. Our vision is to ensure that all children can enter school ready to succeed by making high-quality pre-k accessible to every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania. For more information www.prekforpa.org.