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First Phase of Philadelphia Pre-K Initiative Rolled Out This Week

Original Article: 6ABC

Mayor Jim Kenney made quality Pre-K a main component of his campaign, and on Thursday, he will roll out the first phase of his initiative.

“Our children aren’t getting that start and by 3rd grade, if you’re not reading at grade level, by 7th and 8th grade, you’re acting out, and by 9th and 10th, you’re out the door and you’re on the corner,” Kenney said.

The new Pre-K initiative is being funded through the city’s controversial beverage tax.

Starting in January, 2,000 new Pre-K seats will be made available to families in need across the city.

In the mayor’s opinion, adequate Pre-K funding should be made available for every child.

“I wish Harrisburg would get that, I wish Washington would get that, I wish the people fighting the beverage tax would get that,” Kenney said.

Action News spoke with Otis Bullock of Diversified Community Services who operates the Dixon Learning Academy in Point Breeze.

They already offer Pre-K services. He’s hopeful they’ll be selected for the city’s new program.

“We really focus on changing the cycle of generational poverty here in Point Breeze and the first and foremost thing that we do to do that is providing children with a good start,” Bullock said.

Through the Pre-K initiative, dozens of schools selected will be awarded $8,500 per student.

Action News is also told the schools have been strategically selected for the neighborhoods of highest needs.

“If we had more resources, we’d do more children. We had to do a beverage tax in order to get the money we need cause the state just doesn’t seem to understand or care that education is not a luxury,” Kenney said.

The announcement of which schools are set to get the funding comes out in just three days. When that happens we will bring you the updates.