State Pre-Kindergarten Spending Shows Largest Increase in Five Years: 120,000 More Children to Participate in Pre-k Programs in 30 States

Contact: Lorie Slass, 215.575.4818; Jessica Riordan, 215.575.4886, Don Owens, 202.862.9863

Washington, D.C. - 11/16/2005 - Pre-K Now released "Votes Count: Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2006". The national report gives a picture of every state and the District of Columbia's final funding measures on pre-k for its three and four year olds in FY06. The coming year shows a significant, positive trend. The funds allocated will give more children access to pre-k than ever before.

"Our report shows that the number of states increasing funding for pre-k access has doubled since FY05," said Libby Doggett, executive director of Pre-K Now. "Pre-k is without a doubt a national education reform movement that has gained tremendous momentum. FY06 state budgets are a clear indicator that more state legislatures are beginning to understand the academic and economic benefits of pre-k."

For FY06, 26 state legislatures have committed to increase funding for pre-k. Four other states are projecting increases to pre-k over the next fiscal year based on their school funding formulas. Pre-K Now estimates that 120,000 additional children will have an opportunity to attend pre-k in the coming school year.

Additional report findings show that:

·        Twenty-six states have approved increases and 4 others are projected to increase;

·        Total pre-k increases reach just over $600 million nationwide - a 194% increase over last year;

·        Cumulative spending on state pre-k since FY02 tops $14 billion;

·        Only two states decreased funds for pre-k in FY06 compared to seven states in FY05, a 71% drop; and,

·        More than 1 million three and four year olds are now attending state funded pre-k programs.

"Despite tight budgets and big deficits more legislatures than a year ago are keeping their commitments to children and their families," Doggett said. "You simply cannot effectively carry out school reform or close the achievement gap without increasing access to high-quality pre-k for children in our communities."

Pre-K Now collaborates with state advocates and policymakers to lead a movement for high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all three and four year olds. The following funders have contributed to making this important work possible: The Pew Charitable Trusts, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Foundation for Child Development, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

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