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Tuesday, 27th October 2009

Pew Report: Facing Historic Budget Gaps, Most States Protect Pre-Kindergarten

Pew Report: Facing Historic Budget Gaps, Most States Protect Pre-Kindergarten
Source: Pew Center on the States

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia – which faced budget gaps of up to 35 percent – chose to increase or hold steady funding for pre-kindergarten education, according to an analysis released today by Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States. Legislators added dollars for existing pre-k initiatives in 13 states and approved new programs in two others, creating a modest national net gain in funding despite cuts in ten states.

The non-partisan annual report, “Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010,” evaluates state budgets to determine which legislatures count voluntary, high-quality pre-k among their top education reform strategies. Using these numbers, Americans can determine whether their elected leaders are committing the resources necessary to develop the successful students and workers central to economic recovery.

The report sheds light on the advantages of one particular funding strategy for early education. Nine states and the District of Columbia include pre-k in their school funding formulas, allocating per-child funding for 4-year-olds based on enrollment, just as they do for K-12 students. All of these states expect spending to grow as more parents choose high-quality early education for their children. By contrast, in all the states that reduced investments, pre-k is funded through the general appropriations process, which is more vulnerable to cuts.

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