State Leaders & Families Celebrate New Pre-K Counts Classroom
Applaud $79 Million Increase to Expand Pre-K Access

Canonsburg, PA — Pennsylvania State Senator Camera Bartolotta and staff from Representative Tim O’Neal’s office joined Blueprints for a visit to the new Pre-K Counts expansion classroom in the Frank Sarris Public Library. They were joined by the CEO of Blueprints, Darlene Bigler, the Executive Director of the library, Peggy Tseng, and Vice Chair of the Library Board of Trustees, Marsha Blanco, staff from Blueprints, WQED, and Trying Together, and pre-k students and families to mark the new classroom with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“I am thrilled that Senator Bartolotta is visiting our program today to mark the passage of the 2022-23 state budget that includes a $79 million increase for more of Pennsylvania’s three- and four-year-olds to attend Pre-K Counts and Head Start,” said Darlene Bigler, CEO of Blueprints. “This $79 million increase is important because we know that 56 percent of income eligible 3- and 4-year-olds in Washington County do not yet have access to publicly funded high-quality pre-k. This equates to almost 1,180 income eligible three- and four-year-olds still lacking access to these services every year in our County. Across Pennsylvania more than 100,000 eligible three- and four-year-olds are waiting.”

Blueprints and the Frank Sarris Public Library collaborated to open a Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts classroom at the library made possible by the infusion of an additional $60 million in funding for the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program and $19 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program as part of the state’s 2022-2023 state budget. Together, this new funding will allow roughly 2,300 additional students access to high-quality pre-k. Pre-K Counts and the Head Start State Supplemental are the primary state funding sources for high-quality pre-k in Pennsylvania. As a part of the National Ready to Learn Learning Neighborhoods Initiative, WQED has partnered with Blueprints, the Frank Sarris Public Library, the City Mission, and Wylandville Elementary School to bring educational resources and events to young children and families in the Canon McMillan School District area. This partnership has been very valuable and has provided a great deal of educational resources and partnerships to support families of young children.

Marsha Blanco, Vice Chair of the Frank Sarris Library Board of Trustees, noted that access to high-quality pre-k is an important part of a child’s opportunity to lead a prosperous life and that she knew this first hand as her first job was as a preschool teacher. “I look at the little ones and I think of their future,” said Blanco on the importance of the classroom as part of the community library.

Senator Bartolotta commented on the partnership as a “shining example of how you can have community organizations that can work together to support their children.” The Senator also noted that she is proud to continue supporting investments in early learning.

“Investments in pre-k are worthwhile as these programs support children’s language and math skills and set them up for success, ” said Senator Bartolotta.

Participants thanked Senator Bartolotta and Representative O’Neal for their leadership at the state level that has led to more state funding for Pre-K Counts and Head Start year after year.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by thousands of individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is a necessary and urgent priority. For more information, visit