With Allegheny County and Pa. desperate for more pre-k teachers, Gov. Shapiro’s budget proposal offers some hope

For equivalent experience and credentials, kindergarten teachers and elementary school teachers make double that of a preschool teacher. On top of that, they can earn much more generous health and PTO benefits, said Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “Historically, there’s always been a lack of investments in the field, especially in wages and benefits for those educators,” Ms. King said. “This is about providing wage increases that make sure that programs are able to be operational, have professionals in the classrooms.”

Providers fear that without securing and maintaining additional funding to fairly compensate teachers, families will see longer waiting lists and fewer high-quality options. “When you’re in those programs, there are requirements around the staff ratios, their education,” Ms. King said. “That comes with a cost – as it should. You should be appropriately paying someone who has a certain level of education to make sure kids are seeing positive outcomes.”

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