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Philadelphia Officials Press For Universal Pre-K, Appeal For State Funding

By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Nutter administration today unveiled a plan to provide access to pre-kindergarten for every Philadelphia child.

"A Running Start Philadelphia" is a five-step plan to provide the services and programs needed to implement a universal pre-K system.

But such a plan would come at a steep price.  Early education leaders say they're relying on Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf's proposed budget  to deliver a big chunk of the funding.

And in Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter says, a 17-member commission is currently being formed "to develop an implementation plan and funding proposals for high quality, universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds in Philadelphia.  The results of the commission's work will be delivered to the mayor and City Council by April 2016, for full consideration by city leadership."

Democratic mayoral candidate (and likely successor to Mayor Nutter) Jim Kenney said he's on board, noting that it's cheaper to pay for education than prison:

"If you start early and you invest early, I don't have to pay for that young man or young woman up on State Road at $40,000 a year. Forty thousand dollars a year to house someone at one of our city prisons!"

Gov. Wolf has allocated $120 million in his proposed state budget to fund pre-K programs.



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