Pre-K for PA Urges Leaders in Harrisburg to Negotiate a Budget that Boosts Early Learning
Harrisburg, PA (July 1)—The Pre-K for PA campaign, along with the Early Learning PA coalition, today called on leaders in Harrisburg to continue negotiating a budget that builds on the increased investment in early childhood education.
The coalition partners called the budget passed by the House and Senate on Tuesday, which included a $30 million increase, a good first step. That increase would serve about 3,500 more 3- and 4-year-olds who can benefit from high-quality pre-k programs. The campaign urged more significant investments so more children can benefit in the coming school year.
Nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s 3- and 4-year-olds – more than 200,000 children in all – don’t have access to high-quality pre-k. The campaign supports an investment of an additional $120 million in fiscal 2015-16, which would allow another 14,000 children to benefit.
The principal partners of the Pre-K for PA campaign (listed below) issued the following statement:
“Our coalition leaders understand that negotiations can be difficult, particularly when it comes to expanding investments, but we know that high-quality pre-k works and the failure to invest at a higher level will have negative impacts on many children. An investment of $120 million this coming fiscal year and in the subsequent three state budgets will set us on a path that will allow every child born today who is at-risk of school failure and some middle class kids access to high-quality pre-k.
“Our coalition members have spoken to dozens of lawmakers who have enthusiastically voiced their support for investing more in our state’s youngest learners, far too many of whom are left out of this budget. Gov. Wolf’s original budget proposal only increases access to 1 in 4 of our 3- and 4-year-olds, which is why our commitment to high-quality pre-k investments needs to be a long-term one that goes beyond a single budget year.
“We urge lawmakers and Gov. Wolf to keep in mind those children who will start kindergarten behind their peers because they missed out on the benefits high-quality pre-k provides. There are no do-overs for these children.
“We encourage Gov. Wolf and all legislative leaders to advance negotiations on behalf of each kid who would gain access to high-quality pre-k and craft a budget that adequately invests in this proven learning resource.”
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 that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. We will not endorse nor oppose candidates, but rather we will advocate on behalf of this vision for Pennsylvania’s children, schools and communities. For more information www.prekforpa.org.
# # #