BLOG: Early Education Funding Plan Leads PA Down the Right Path

By: Sophie Stone, Deputy Press Secretary

February 04, 2016

Today in Philadelphia, Governor Wolf announced a $60 million increase in high-quality early childhood education as part of his 2016-17 budget proposal. Governor Wolf joined Education Secretary Pedro Rivera and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at the West Philadelphia Community Center to discuss this unprecedented support to high-quality pre-k programs in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania stands at a crossroads. It is time to face our financial reality and give Pennsylvania the bright future it deserves.

Governor Wolf’s plan is a clear path for a promising future for our state: it funds education at all levels, eliminates our deficit, and puts Pennsylvania back on track.

The other path that Pennsylvania can take would lead to higher property taxes, reduced services for seniors, and massive education cuts that will lead to even further devastation. For too long, our commonwealth has taken this road by spending in excess of revenues through one-time patches and wildly optimistic assumptions.

The governor’s proposed $60 million increase for early education represents a 30.5 percent increase in funding. The funding builds upon a $60 million investment in 2015-16 to enroll about 14,000 children in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.

philadelphia-students

This 2016-17 investment is contingent upon lawmakers passing the bipartisan budget compromise bill that proved elusive last December. The upcoming budget provides a spending plan for 2016-17 that builds upon that agreement — it invests in our schools, meets critical human service needs, fully funds our pension and debt obligations, and eliminates the structural budget deficit.

Governor Wolf has made clear his strong commitment to education in Pennsylvania by fighting to restore critical education cuts, provide unprecedented support to high-quality pre-k programs, and ensure students are college and career ready. He will continue to advocate for increased funding for Pennsylvania schools to deliver high-quality education to every student across the state, regardless of zip code.

Pennsylvania should be among the many states that provide universal pre-kindergarten for children.

This is the path to a greater future and will help us lay a strong foundation for long-term economic growth.

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