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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 4, 2017 02:34 PM
From: Representative Thomas J. Quigley
To: All House members
Subject: Pre-School Education Grant Program
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that will provide additional assistance to low-and middle-income parents of pre-school-age children to allow them to enroll their children in public or nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs.

Presently, the great majority of children who benefit from pre-kindergarten programs are enrolled in successful nonpublic programs. Some of those children’s families are helped to some extent by the laudable Pre-K EITC program, but the unmet demand for scholarship assistance under that program remains at an extraordinarily high level.

Parents have come to appreciate just how important it is for their children to begin to develop their life-long learning skills before they reach kindergarten age. The Commonwealth has an obligation to assure that the opportunity to progress academically is available to all children, rather than forcing some children to play catch-up with their peers once they reach kindergarten and elementary school because they didn’t have the advantage of starting in pre-kindergarten.

Public school districts are not mandated to offer pre-kindergarten programs, but there is no reason that the Commonwealth should refrain from providing the means for families to afford those programs where school districts are willing to establish them. There is also no reason for the Commonwealth to refrain from taking advantage of the present availability of vibrant and caring nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs that are already operating as a service to the families in their communities.

Therefore, we believe that a State-funded program that allows eligible families to apply for and receive grants that would be used to meet the costs of their children’s attendance at safe, caring and effective public or nonpublic pre-kindergarten programs will go a long way toward leveling the academic playing field and giving a well-deserved boost to responsible and loving parents who want to give their children a better chance for success in school and in life.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation. (Former HB 1442)

Introduced as HB634