Blog | July 22, 2019

Pennsylvania State Budget Recap

Continued support of high-quality early childhood programs and public education

On June 28, 2019, the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania state budget was enacted into law. We thank Governor Wolf and the General Assembly for their ongoing support for increasing state investments in high-quality pre-k and evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs that are shown to prevent crime, provide a solid foundation for future learning and positive behavior, prevent child abuse and neglect, and promote positive parenting.

High-Quality Pre-K

The budget includes investments of:

  • $25 million in Pre-K Counts. This funding will be used to provide a 2.95% increase in the per-student rate and also serve more eligible children.
  • $5 million in the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program to serve more children living in poverty.
  • Combined, this $30 million increase will serve up to 3,500 at-risk children with high-quality early learning opportunities that include developmentally appropriate curricula, well-qualified teachers, low student-teacher ratios, parent involvement, developmental screening and referrals, and other attributes research shows are critical to foundational learning and long-term behavioral and educational outcomes.
  • Since Governor Wolf took office in 2015, funding for high-quality pre-k has increased by $145 million annually, more than doubling, to serve an additional 13,500 children annually.

Evidence-Based Voluntary Home Visiting

  • The budget includes a $5 million investment in evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs to serve 800 more eligible families. This funding adds to an annual grant program to which home visiting programs can apply to serve families who are at risk of child abuse and neglect, facing substance use disorder and other challenging circumstances and help put them on paths to self sufficiency.

High-Quality Child Care

  • Additional $27 million in federal dollars to serve 970 infants and toddlers in high-quality programs off the subsidy waiting list, raise tiered reimbursement rates for STAR 2, 3 and 4 providers caring for infants and toddlers and supports apprenticeships for infant and toddler teachers.
  • We were disappointed in the $36 million reduction in state funding for child care that was replaced with increased federal funds. The $36 million could have helped an additional 2,400 infants and toddlers enroll in high-quality child care and enable their parents to work.

Basic Education Funding

  • An additional $160 million for Basic Education Funding was included in the budget. It is imperative that children–especially those at-risk of educational failure who had the benefit of evidence-based home visiting, high-quality child care, and/or pre-k programs–enter properly-resourced elementary schools with great teachers and small class sizes to continue foundational learning that keeps them on paths to success.

Our law enforcement, retired military, and business leaders—in coordination with our partners in the Pre-K for PA, Childhood Begins at Home, Start Strong PA and PA Schools Work campaigns—made a strong case for increasing the above investments this year. Our diverse membership in Pennsylvania will continue focusing attention on the urgent need to help give Pennsylvania’s most at-risk children and families their best chance to succeed while also decreasing future crime, enhancing our national security, increasing workforce readiness, and saving taxpayer dollars.


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