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Study: Expanding pre-K in Pa. could generate $800M in spending

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Expanding pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds could create nearly 28,000 jobs in Pennsylvania and generate nearly $800 million in new spending, according to a new study.

Issued today by ReadyNation/America's Edge for the Pre-K for PA campaign, the study says every dollar Pennsylvania invests in quality pre-kindergarten programs generates $1.79 in new spending in the commonwealth.

The study quotes an analysis that says early care and education generates more additional spending than other major economic sectors, trailing only transportation and construction, which generate $1.85 and $1.84 per dollar spent, respectively.

It also stresses the longer-term economic benefits of quality early education in preparing the next generation of Pennsylvania's workforce.

Statewide, the study says, investing about $700 million in expanding pre-K to all children whose families earn less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level would reach more than 88,000 children, generate an additional $550 million in total new economic activity in Pennsylvania businesses and create more than 19,000 new jobs, including 3,800 jobs outside the early-learning sector.

Expanding access to all children regardless of income, the report says, would require an estimated additional public investment of $326 million to enroll another 80,000 children, and would support an additional $255 million in spending and 8,900 jobs, including more than 1,700 outside the early-learning sector.

In the Lancaster-York region, the study says, a $90 million investment would generate $161 million in new spending, including $71 million outside of the early education sector -- $16 million in services, $12 million in real estate and construction, $13 million in insurance and finance, and $9 million in retail and wholesale trade.

In the capital region, the study says, a $60 million investment would generate $107 million in new spending, including $47 million outside early education -- $11 million in services, $8 million in real estate and construction, $8 million in insurance and finance, and $6 million in retail and wholesale trade.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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