State budget boosted early childhood ed by $30 million

July 20, 2021

Gov. Tom Wolf joined lawmakers and advocates for early childhood education Monday to tout the benefits of a $30 million boost in funding for Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs included in the 2021-22 state budget.

“Early childhood education programs set students up for success,” Wolf said at a press conference in Reading. “When our children are successful in school and beyond, that sets our commonwealth up for success, too.

“That’s why I’ve fought so hard to support early learning in Pennsylvania – doubling its investment – and this year’s budget increased our investment in quality early childhood education once again.”

The funding included in the budget includes $25 million to add 2,800 children to Pre-K Counts programs – half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten programs, which are designed to help children who are at least 3 but haven’t entered kindergarten, are at risk of school failure and living in families earning up to 300% of the poverty level. For a family of four, that’s $73,800.

The funding also provided $5 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, which will help 470 children. Head Start programs are designed for children ages 3-5 and are targeted at children in families with income below the federal poverty line, which for a family of four is $24,600.

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