2019-20 Budget Invests in Kids

Key Investments Made in Evidence-Based Home Visiting, Career and Technical Education and Pre-k

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, the only statewide non-partisan advocacy organization with a public policy agenda that spans the life of a child from birth to adulthood, released the following statement from President and CEO Kari King about the final 2019-20 state budget:

“The final 2019-20 state budget shows that policymakers in Pennsylvania understand the value of investing in our youngest citizens. While there is still progress to be made, PPC applauds key investments made in a variety of programs impacting children across our policy areas.

“Babies don’t come with a book of instructions. As they grow, so do the challenges. Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting is a research-proven tool to support the development and safety of our most vulnerable children and their families. The $5 million increase in home visiting programs will help approximately 800 more Pennsylvania families and children build the foundation for a successful future.

“Investments in high-quality pre-k have a significant return on investment for our children, schools and communities. The $25 million increase to expand access to the Pre-K Counts program and additional $5 million to expand the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program will help more eligible children access the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a high-quality, publicly funded pre-k program. Moving forward we must also ensure that we are supporting the infrastructure of Pennsylvania’s pre-k delivery system by making state investments in child care, as over half of our state’s pre-k providers are child care centers.

“Not every student chooses the same path after graduation, so career and technical education (CTE) is a necessary component of Pennsylvania’s public education system. It prepares students for successful careers and lifelong learning and enhances our workforce competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. The increase of $10 million in CTE will expand access to programs for those students who wish to be career-ready after they graduate and ensure the centers that educate them have up-to-date technology.

“The budget boosts public school funding with an historic $50 million increase in special education funding for students with disabilities, which is the largest bulk increase for special education to date. However, policymakers did not adopt the full amount of basic education funding proposed by the governor. While we are thankful for the $160 million allocated in the final budget, the reality is that greater investments are needed to close the funding gap between wealthy and poor school districts in the state.

“Finally, due to an anticipated federal reduction of funds, the state is required to pick up additional costs associated with the CHIP program. We’re pleased policymakers included $30.3 million to offset the reduction so that children can continue to be covered, and we will advocate for funding in the 2020-21 state budget, which will be the second year of the planned match reduction.”

For select children’s investments in the final 2019-20 state budget, visit: https://www.papartnerships.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/FY-19-20-Budget-Chart-External_Post-Budget_FINAL.pdf