Stroudsburg, Monroe County - During his State of the Union Address, President Obama said he wants to require all children to go to high-quality preschool programs.
The National Institute for Early Education Research, taxpayers already pay about five-and-a-half-billion-dollars a year to support preschool programs. And some say it will take at least double that if the country plans to send all kids to preschool.
Pocono Family YMCA Preschool teacher Ruth Bush has been working with little ones for about thirty years. She said preschool helps them build strong foundations for later education. She added, "Not only ABCs, 123s but socially you see a big jump."
So Bush was interested in the President's plan. She said, "Idealistically I think it is a great idea." Then added, "But you do wonder where the funding is going to come from, how we're gonna accommodate all these children, where?"
It's not clear where the money would come from. President Obama said paying for the programs would not increase the deficit. "I don't understand that because there is a cost. There is a cost for a teacher to child ratio, there is a cost for resources," said Pocono Family YMCA Director Matt Rumph.
Rumph said about half the kids who go to preschool at the Y get financial aid. The United Way recently cut funding for the programs. That means it is hard to support preschool now. So Rumph would like to see a plan on how the President would pay for his proposal. He added, "I think the states would have to be able to get an influx of funds to be able to support that."
Since YMCA programs like preschool are struggling. Managers are hosting a YMCA fund raiser Saturday night. It's a Monte Carlo Casino Themed night at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort. It runs from 6pm-9pm. There will be an Italian Buffet and an auction. Tickets are $55 per person or $9o per couple.
To bid on auction items or for more information visit www.poconoymca.org. You can also call 570-421-2525.