June 25, 2018

$25MIL Increase for Pre-K Classes

Leaders in Harrisburg recently aproved a $25 million investment in pre-k programs in the 2018-19 Pennsylvania state budget.

As part of the budget agreement, Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators made a wise investment in Pennsylvania’s early education system and prioritized the state’s youngest learners. While the 2018-19 Pennsylvania state budget grew by just 1.7%, leaders in Harrisburg grew high-quality pre-k funding by 11%, high-quality child care services grew by 4%, and home visiting by an impressive, and much needed, 33%.

The 2018-19 spending plan included the following expanded investments in early learning:

  • Increases in Pre-K Counts investment: $20 million
  • Increases investment in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program: $5 million
  • Increases investment in Child Care Services: $6.8 million
  • New investment in home visiting programs: $6.735 million

Still more than 106,000 eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k due to limited state funding. This budget increase will allow access to thousands of 3- and 4-year-old students in the upcoming school year. It is a step in the right direction, but we still have much work to be done as Pennsylvania lags far behind neighboring states. Today, Pennsylvania ranks 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. New Jersey is spending five times more per capita than PA, and West Virginia has had universal access for pre-k aged kids since 2012.

This year’s budget is testament to the fact that Governor Wolf, along with Republican and Democrat legislators, understand their constituents’ priorities.

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