PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro hosted an Easter egg hunt to highlight the need for high-quality early childhood programs across the Commonwealth.

The Shapiro’s were joined by Pre-K for Pa as part of the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to creating better schools, healthier families and safer communities.

“Safe and strong communities are built on the foundation of an adequate and equitable education, from pre-K through college and we must invest in early education so that every child in Pennsylvania can get the best possible start in life,” Governor Shapiro said.

“Strong early childhood education programs set students up for success, both inside and outside of the classroom, and that’s why budget invests over $30 million in Head Start and Pre-K Counts to help us recruit more preschool teachers and serve more students. Lori and I are thrilled to welcome preschool students and teachers to the Residence, and we’re committed to working just as hard for all Pennsylvania children as we do for ours.”

In his first budget address, Governor Shapiro proposed a $30,000,000 increase in Pre-K Counts funding and $2,700,000 in funding for the Head Start Supplemental Program to help address staffing shortages in early childhood education programs.

Shapiro’s budget address invests in education at every level, including:

  • An increase of $567,400,000, or 7.8%, for basic education funding
  • An increase of $30,000,000 for the Pre-K Counts program
  • $2,700,000 in funding for the Head Start Supplemental Program
  • $38,500,000 for universal free breakfast for all Pennsylvania students.
  • $500,000,000 over the next 5 years to reduce and remediate environmental hazards in schools
  • $500,000,000 over the next 5 years so that schools can fund mental health counselors and services.

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“When our children have access to high-quality pre-K from dedicated and hard-working educators, the entire Commonwealth thrives,” First Lady Shapiro said. “Josh and I are excited to join students, educators, and advocates from across the Commonwealth today to bring attention to this important issue. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that every Pennsylvania child has the support and resources they need to thrive, and we extend our gratitude to the hardworking educators who provide quality education to children across the Commonwealth every day.”