Governor Ed Rendell is pushing for another increase in basic education funding in Pennsylvania in this year’s budget.
But his spending plan calls for slight reductions in early education line items. A group of law enforcement officials wants lawmakers to change that.
Rendell’s budget would lower Pre-K Counts spending from 86.4 to 85.9 million dollars, and drop the Head Start supplemental line item from 39.5 to 38.7 million.
64 district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs have sent a letter to House Speaker Keith McCall asking for level funding of those line items.
Cumberland County DA David Freed says the research results are simple – more spending on early childhood education means less of those kids will grow up and run into trouble with the law.
"I certainly won’t stand here and ask my legislators to vote for any sort of increase. But what we need is for this funding to remain at status quo. Because this is the point of all these programs. It works. The research shows that it works."
Freed and the others say a bit more early childhood spending can lead to reductions in the corrections budget. He points out the commonwealth spends about 35-thousand dollars on every person in the state prison system. Rendell wants to increase corrections spending to 1.7 billion dollars this year.