In a study comparing 30 states, Pennsylvania is ranked 18th in investing in high-quality, publicly funded Pre-K.

“We talk about 16501 being the poorest zip code in Pennsylvania. That’s unfortunate and unacceptable and that needs to change. If we get these kids off on the right foot and a good foundation, that can change,” said Nick Scott, the vice president of Scott Enterprises.

Scott said the skills children learn in pre-k, make them stronger students and even more well-rounded employees. 

He stood alongside representatives from the United Way and the Pennsylvania Partnership for Children, urging people to question public officials about their stance on funding pre-k, before election season. 

“We want to make sure the candidates know that Erie residents are watching what they’re talking about, relative to quality pre-k and making sure that it’s a priority for them,” said Janel Bonsell, with United Way of Erie County. 

Out of the states that are ahead of Pennsylvania in pre-k funding, there’s a mix between democratic and republican leadership.

“It’s a real bi-partisan mix. It’s some hot-beds of liberalism like Georgia and Oklahoma that are boxing our ears in,” said Joan Benso, the President/CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. 

Benso said Pennsylvania needs an additional 315 million dollar investment to catch up to other states.

She told us the return could add up to more 1.2 billion dollars. 

“We know that pre-k is likely the public investment that has the best return of them all,” said Benso.