A day after he delivered his budget address to the City Council, Mayor Jim Kenney launched a website inviting parents and the public, at large, to lend their voices in getting involved in one of his initiatives.
A big part of Kenney’s proposals Thursday included expanding early childhood education through a combination of state and federal funding to the tune of $256 million, which would add an estimated 25,000 pre-K seats in Philadelphia over the next five years.
Visitors to the new website, “Ready. Set. Pre-K,” are asked to submit their names, addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers, as well as information on their specific areas of interest, if enrolling their child in a pre-K program is of interest to them, or if they are a pre-K provider or a volunteer. The mayor’s office of education staffers then promise to follow-up with the individual in the coming weeks.
“I’m calling on parents, caregivers, pre-K providers, and the public to get involved in quality pre-K expansion,” Kenney said in a statement.
“Our administration is committed to increasing access to affordable, quality pre-K, but we can’t do it alone. We need everyone’s help.”
On Friday, Kenney visited Lovie Lee’s Stars of Tomorrow in the city’s West Oak Lane neighborhood to see how things operate. It’s a STAR-4 rated pre-K program in a home environment — the highest-graded early learning program administered in Pennsylvania.
The website is ambitious, however. City Council has 90 days to consider and vote on Kenney’s proposed budget, which largely leans on a controversial three-cent tax on soda.