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Some State Preschools Set to Close Under Pa. Budget Stalemate

Apparently, preschool doesn't count enough to keep the doors of Pennsylvania's Pre-K Counts state preschool program open in some communities more than 100 days into a budget stalemate there.

If nothing changes, programs responsible for educating 800 children will have closed their doors by Nov. 10, according to an AP story that ran on Oct. 26 in The Reading Eagle. That's about 5 percent of the total of 14,000 children who are served by Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts statewide.

Early results for the program were strong, according to a 2012-13 report found on the program's website. "The percentage of 4-year olds with proficient academic and social skills tripled to 82 percent after participating in PA Pre-K Counts programs in 2012-13," the report states. No more recent data is included on the site.

There is nothing special about Pennsylvania's preschool predicament. Programs of all kinds across the state have been shut down or curtailed and hundreds of employees have either been furloughed or lost their benefits. 

"A new state budget was due July 1," according to an AP story that ran in Education Week on September 9. "But Republicans who control the state legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf remained at odds last week over issues including how to cut property taxes that provide the biggest source of public school revenues, and over public pensions and liquor sales."

Friday was the 115th day of the stalemate.

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