Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Region Picks Up $1M in 4-K State Funding Grants
Four early education programs in the Greater Pottstown Area have received an additional $1 million through the new state budget which remains unbalanced.
According to a spreadsheet of the grant awards provided by State Rep. Thomas Quigley, R-146th Dist. programs in Chester and Montgomery counties have received a total of $1,020,000 in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grants.
No grants were issued in Berks County.
Pre-K Counts provides quality half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3- and 4-year-olds and is designed for children who are at risk of school failure; living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal income poverty level (such as a family of four earning $72,900); and, or who may also be English language learners or have special needs.
At $357,000, Pottstown School District received the region’s largest grant, which is in addition to the grant money it already receives from that program
Owen J. Roberts School District has received a grant of $170,000.
The two others issued in Montgomery County are for the county’s Intermediate Unit, which provides services throughout the county and received $340,000; and Montgomery Early Learning Centers, which has five locations, including one at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Pottstown, and which received $153,000.
Pottstown Schools Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez said he had not expected to receive word so soon, given the uncertain state of the budget, which has yet to be the benefit of a revenue package agreed to by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
The upshot for Pottstown is the district can now offer a full day Pre-K Counts classroom at Franklin, Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools, in addition to the Barth 4K classroom that started last year.
The grant funding, combined with district funds, means the district can now offer a full-day 4K classroom experience to all families of 4-year-old children regardless of income, as long as they reside in Pottstown School District.
Rodriguez explained that during the last school year, a full-day 4-K program was set up at Barth Elementary School, but only had 20 seats, all of which were filled.
Now an additional 60 seats — 20 at each of the other three elementary schools — will be funded thanks to the grant
Kathryn Soeder, Assistant Superintendent at Owen J. Roberts School District said the district has taken advantage of the Pre-K Counts program for the last 10 years by passing the grant money through to programs at two locations run by Warwick Child Care.
The program offers child care and instruction “aligned with our kindergarten and pre-K program.
“We started with 20 seats, ten in each of Warick’s two locations, and added 20 more in 2016,” she said.
The additional $170,000 brings the district’s Pre-K Counts grant to $516,000 and will allow for services to be provided to 60 children from low-income families, she said.