Driscoll, Policy Committee discuss Pre-K reimbursement rates and early childhood education at Policy roundtable

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Michael J. Driscoll, D-Phila., hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public roundtable today to discuss Pre-K reimbursement rates and early education.

“Pre-K and early learning are vital to our children and to the world in which they will need to function as they grow into young adults and finally adults who will compose our work force,” Driscoll said. “It is imperative that we find solutions to properly fund Pre-K and early childhood educational opportunities for all children across Pennsylvania so that the burden of footing the bill doesn’t fall solely to providers.”

Driscoll requested the roundtable to explore how state funding gaps impact early childhood education programs. He was joined by fellow state legislators, including HDPC Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.

“Today’s discussion shows there are many opportunities for us to consider as we continue to make investing in early childhood education a priority,” Sturla said. “With gaps as high as 30% between current funding provided by the state and the operational costs of these programs, early childhood education programs at SPIN and across the state are seriously underfunded, resulting in underpaid teachers, programs that operate in deficit, and potential for program closures.”

Panelists of the roundtable included Tracey Campanini, deputy secretary of the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning; Kathy McHale, president & CEO, SPIN; Fred Wright, president, AFSCME Local 1739; Ann O’Brien, CEO, Wonderspring; Maddy Malis, president & CEO, Federation Early Learning Services; Donna Cooper, executive director, Public Citizens for Children and Youth; and Tyrone Scott, director of government and external affairs, First Up

The roundtable was among a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, a policy agenda focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing healthcare access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com. Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.