Just how universal should universal pre-K be in Philadelphia? That was the question posed Tuesday during a City Council budget hearing.
With money scarce, Council President Darrell Clarke said he wants those who can afford to pay pre-K not to take up a spot for a child from a needy family. “Why don’t we have an income threshold on the money that we providing?” he said. “There has to be a reason.”Otis Hackney, the city’s chief education officer, responded that the aim of the effort is to offer pre-K to all students.Councilwoman Helen Gym cautioned that the city must prioritize.”We are fully supportive of universal pre-K, but I think the priority has to go toward the most vulnerable children in our city,” she said. The plan would be bankrolled by a proposed city tax on sugary drinks.