WPXI: Pre-K programs closing due to Pennsylvania budget battle

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Some early childhood centers certified under Pennsylvania’s state-subsidized pre-kindergarten program are starting to tell parents that they will close because of the state’s four-month-old budget stalemate.

Kate Philips, a spokeswoman for the Pre-K for PA coalition, said that organizations closing their doors by Nov. 10 educate at least 800 children in the state’s Pre-K Counts program. Children from low-income families qualify for Pre-K Counts, which serves nearly 14,000 children.

“Right now we are facing an emergency,” said Natalia Rudiak, a member of the Pittsburgh City Council. “Right now these centers are literally shutting their doors.”

The list includes Riverview Children’s Center in Verona, which has closed. Many others like Smart Kids Childcare in Washington County are on the verge of closing.

“We have already exhausted one line of credit loan,” said Susan Buffton, who is with the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center.

This year’s prolonged budget impasse has blown past the 101 day-stalemate of 2009 — Friday was the 122nd day — and around the state, layoffs are mounting because social and human services organizations have not gotten state funding that they counted on.

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