HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that $84.5 million will be distributed to qualifying pre-kindergarten programs across Pennsylvania, providing programs and services for nearly 12,000 children.
State grants will be issued to 159 program providers in 59 counties across the state for the upcoming school year.
“Quality pre-kindergarten programs like Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts are proven to prepare at-risk children for success in kindergarten and beyond,” Corbett said. “I am pleased that the General Assembly shared my vision to increase funding for this important program that will serve an additional 580 children in the upcoming school year.”
Pre-K Counts provides half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten services to Pennsylvania children who are: between age three and the beginning age of kindergarten; at risk of facing challenges in school; living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($67,050 for a family of four); and who may be English language learners or have disabilities or developmental delays.
Corbett proposed, and the legislature agreed, to increase funding for Pre-K Counts by $4.5 million, or 5 percent, in the 2013-14 state budget.
“Families enrolling their child in Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program can expect a high-quality pre-kindergarten experience,” acting Secretary of Education William E. Harner said. “This strategic investment by Pennsylvania taxpayers will ensure that our children have access to well-qualified educators and learning activities that will ensure their future success.”
In addition to Pre-K Counts, Corbett’s budget also increases funding for other Pennsylvania early education programs, including the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, which will receive $39.2 million – an increase of $1.9 million, or 5 percent – that will serve an additional 210 children; and Early Intervention, which will receive $221.9 – an increase of $5 million, or 2.3 percent – that will serve an additional 1,500 children.