Philadelphia launches pre-K program funded by soda tax

Written by The Associated Press | Jan 6, 2017 3:20 PM

(Philadelphia)_Thousands of Philadelphia toddlers are starting 2017 in a city pre-kindergarten program, launched this week alongside a new sugary beverage tax created to fund it.

More than 2,000 children started the first phase of the pre-K program. Locations were prioritized to enroll children in the highest-need neighborhoods.

Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney proposed the tax last year as a way to establish universal pre-K.

City officials say they received more than 3,700 calls about the program, and more than 2,200 families applied during the enrollment period, which began in the fall.

While participants do not have to fall in a particular income level, the average household income for families who applied was just under $35,000 a year.

More than eight in 10 applicants live at or below the federal poverty rate.

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