Merski, Harkins: More than $3 million awarded to bolster early education

ERIE, Aug. 1 – Erie County students will benefit from new early education resources thanks to more than $3 million in funding, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will open up new PA Pre-K Counts slots and help grantees in the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program defray increased operating costs.

“The resources we invest in early childhood education bring some of the greatest, longest-lasting returns because they fund programs that shape developing minds,” Merski said. “As a teacher for more than two decades, I have seen firsthand the difference that having the right start in life can make for a child. I’m delighted that this funding is coming to the county to open up new PA Pre-K Counts slots and bolster Head Start programs.”

Harkins said, “Study after study shows that kids who have access to programs like Pre-K Counts and Head Start thrive more fully, learn essential skills earlier and have a better overall chance of succeeding in the world. Today’s funding to enrich those programs is terrific news for students, parents, educators and our entire community.”

The following grants were awarded to benefit students in the First and Second Legislative Districts:

Pre-K Counts grants

Child Development Centers, Inc. $400,000.

Dr. Gertrude A. Barber Center, Inc. $80,000.

Multicultural Community Resource Center $200,000.

Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program grants

Benedictine Sisters of Erie $185,300.

Child Development Centers $2,200,000.

The funding is part of a package of $384 million in funding for early childhood education. More on the funding is available here: