By Paul Kurtz

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

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“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.”

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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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