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21 May 2010

Pew Center Report Says Perdue Protecting Pre-K Programs Despite Budget Crunch

Despite the budgetary squeeze that resulted in many programs being cut this year, a new report by the Pew Center on the States says the nation's governors --including Gov. Perdue-- are keeping overall state funding for pre-kindergarten near the previous year's levels.

According to the report by Pre-K Now, a campaign of the Pew Center on the States, should all the governors' budgets pass, state pre-k investments would remain at $5.3 billion, increasing by less than 0.2 percent, or slightly more than $8.2 million.

The report also highlights that between fiscal years 2005 and 2010, Georgia increased its funding for pre-K programs from $269 million to $350 million.

"Governors have had to cut many state programs to the bone during the recession, but our report shows that as a group they've tried to hold the line on pre-k because it's cost-effective and yields solid returns," said Marci Young, project director of Pre-K Now. "When they're looking to turn around underperforming school districts and level the playing field for young children, many governors view pre-k as the first step in their education reform game plan."

Pre-K Now's annual report evaluates budget proposals for the coming school year and documents governors' remarks in recent state of the state addresses to determine which leaders count voluntary, high-quality pre-k among their top education reform and economic development strategies.

This year's Pre-K Now report, with funding trend data and neighboring state comparisons, is available at: www.preknow.org/leadershipmatters.