Pre-K for PA Says Pre-Kindergarten Funding is a Good Start; Urges Legislature to Return to Work

Coalition says funding does not go far enough to address the more than 200,000 PA kids missing out on high-quality pre-k

HARRISBURG (December 29, 2015)—The Pre-K for PA campaign recognized today that the increased funding for high-quality pre-k programs that resulted from the adopted partial-year 2015-16 budget agreement is a good start, but urged the legislature to return to Harrisburg and deliver a full budget that adequately funds pre-k. The partial-year budget currently invests $25 million in new Pre-K Counts funding and $5 million in new funding for Head Start.

The principal partners of the nearly two-year-long campaign to increase funding for high-quality pre-k issued the following statement regarding this budget agreement:

“The release of funds and expansion will allow pre-k classrooms to remain open, reopen and serve some additional children for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year, but leaves too many kids behind during a crucial stage of their development.   This represents a step in the right direction, but we remain hopeful that continued budget negotiations will yield additional funding in this school year to expand access to high-quality pre-k to more of the roughly 200,000 three- and four-year-olds in Pennsylvania without access.

“With such a broad and strong commitment by so many legislators and the Governor, our campaign remains cautiously optimistic that leaders in Harrisburg will continue to work together, both in this year and beyond, toward the goal of access to high-quality pre-k for all Pennsylvania three-and four-year-olds by 2019—ensuring that every child born today could benefit from at least one year of high-quality pre-k before he or she heads off to kindergarten. The Pre-K for PA campaign believes that high-quality pre-k should be accessible by all children with priority given to those most at-risk.”

Pre-K for PA was launched in 2014 with the vision that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. This statewide coalition includes: Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children; Economy League of Greater Philadelphia; Fight Crime: Invest in Kids; Mission: Readiness; Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children; Pennsylvania Head Start Association; Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children; Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children; Public Citizens for Children and Youth; and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.