PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania first lady Susan Corbett visited the Settlement Music School in South Philadelphia today, to view firsthand its preschool arts enrichment program that helps low-income children develop their skills.

The faculty in various rooms had the three- to five-year-olds dancing, painting, and playing music, much to the delight of Mrs. Corbett, who doubles as chair of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

“They learn so much here, but they think they’re having fun,” she said.

Mrs. Corbett, in her youth, played piano seriously.

“I was going to be a professional pianist,” she explained.  “Then, at 17, I met the governor, and thought he was more fun than practicing in the basement.”

Her husband had proposed funding state arts at the current $8-million level, but the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee slashed it 70 percent, to about $2.5 million.

“Everything is still in flux until the final state budget is confirmed,” says Mrs. Corbett, “so we’re hoping that they could look at some options and reinstate the small amount of money that the arts receive.”

Governor Corbett’s proposed budget also would slash about $1 billion in school funding, leaving educators across the Commonwealth, including the Philadelphia School District, scrambling for solutions.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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