The grant, for 2011 and 2012, will help fund the BusinessLeadership Council for Pre-K, a group of 60 Kentucky business leaders whoseadvocacy for children focuses on giving them access to quality preschool asthe foundation for success in school and life.
PNC has been a national leader in support for pre-k with itsGrow Up Great campaign, a 10-year, $100 million school readiness initiative.Emphasizing the importance of business community investments in earlychildhood, Harry Richart, Regional President and Todd Ziegler, Senior VicePresident, presented a check to the Prichard Committee during a recentmeeting of the statewide education advocacy group.
"We are so pleased to receive this generous support from the PNCFoundation," said Cynthia Heine, interim executive director of the PrichardCommittee. "Research on the positive impact of pre-k makes it clear thatthis is an area with a strong return on investment for individuals andsociety as a whole. The Business Leadership Council is working to raiseawareness of that fact - and to encourage greater state support for pre-k.The grant from the PNC Foundation will greatly help those efforts."
SOURCE: Prichard Committee Press release
This from the Public News Service:
State education officials say Kentucky is still committed to giving kids a good head start with state-supported preschool programs, despite a recent budget hit.
A recent report from the Pew Center on the States lists Kentucky as one of only ten cash-strapped states that allocated fewer dollars to pre-kindergarten programs for the 2011 fiscal year.
Annette Bridges, director of early childhood development for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), says the $2.6 million dollar reduction means $200 less per child going to school districts this year. "It used to be that schools, for each classroom, because a large number of our kids have disabilities, we would have that third person in the classroom. So, it could mean actually cutting staff."
Kentucky led the nation in allocating state dollars for preschool programs through the 1990 Education Reform Act, says Bridges, although recent cuts have caused some schools to go from full-day to half-day kindergarten."And we know, the research tells us, that children who are most at risk of academic failure, they do better - they're learning is much higher - when they're in full-day programs, at least four days a week."