PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten issued its draft report last week. It predicts a slow and costly process.
The Commission, created by voters in May, estimates 14,000 3-5-year-olds are already in a quality pre-school, but another 16,000 would need to be enrolled to achieve universal Pre-K.READ MORE: Several People Injured After Tree Falls During West Philadelphia High School Reunion Party At Fairmount Park
The scenarios for getting there assume the city would come up with $60-million-a-year and, even then, it would create only 6,500 to 10,000 new seats in the next three years. And Co-chair Sharon Easterling says that’s not even the hard part:
“The hard work of figuring out how we will pay for this is yet to come.”READ MORE: Man Struck, Killed By Vehicle In Northeast Philadelphia: Police
Councilwoman Helen Gym called it “the boldest anti-poverty measure the city has put forth in a very long time.”
But city council members who met with the commission were enthusiastic. Councilman Mark Squilla focused on the long-term:
“Kids with special needs or trauma, if we could reach them earlier, we could save money in the end because they may not need as many services as they get older.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Weather: Week Starts With Muggy Conditions Before Cold Front Arrives
And councilman Derek Green said it could be an economic development opportunity for small providers.