Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 19, 2017 


Hurricane Maria now a category five; another GOP attempt to end Obamacare; and the opening day of the U.N. General Assembly met with protests. Details on those stories and more.

Daily Newscasts

Budget Agreement Called Victory for PA Kids

The budget agreement adds $25 million for pre-Kindergarten programs and $4.77 million for Head Start. (Gov. Tom Wolf)
The budget agreement adds $25 million for pre-Kindergarten programs and $4.77 million for Head Start. (Gov. Tom Wolf)
July 5, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The budget agreement passed by Pennsylvania's General Assembly gives a big boost to early childhood education.

The bipartisan spending plan adds $25 million for the state's Pre-K Counts program, and almost $5 million for Head Start.

Joan Benso, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and a partner in the Pre-K for PA program, said that will open the door to critical learning programs for thousands more three- and four-year-olds across the Commonwealth.

"The Pre-K for PA Campaign is striving to ensure that every child at risk of school failure has access to high-quality, publicly-funded pre-K by 2021-22," Benso said, "and this increase is a really great step in that direction."

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign the budget if the General Assembly is able to agree on a revenue package to pay for it in the next week.

Benso added that the budget also restores $20 million previously cut from child care, and funds a totally new program to help parents.

"That will create a grant program for evidence-based home visiting initiatives that reduce child abuse, improve health, improve early learning," she explained. "That appropriation is nearly $5 million."

Benso cited decades of studies showing that high-quality early education pays a lifetime of dividends, including higher high-school graduation rates and greater earning potential in adulthood.

"The estimates are that there's a return of about $4, at least, for every dollar invested," she noted. "And any public investment that returns more than the dollar you invested in it is a winner in our book."

The budget agreement also increases K-through-12 spending by $100 million, and special education by $25 million.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA