A modest price to pay

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – On Nov. 6, Allegheny County residents will have the unique opportunity to establish the Allegheny County Children’s Fund, an initiative that will increase access to early childhood education, nutritious meals and after-school programs for kids across the county.

As a pediatrician, I can personally attest that these three areas have critical unmet need. Early learning is closely linked to language development, socialization and IQ. Proper nutrition is essential for brain development and growth, and we are falling short — out of every six children in Allegheny County, one is hungry. Finally, after-school programs build a sense of self-esteem and teamwork and provide a safe, healthy outlet for young energy.

I see the need for each of these programs regularly in my patients. Toddlers without pre-K can have a harder time adjusting to school. When we ask families at every check-up whether they get enough to eat, the responses are alarming. Moreover, without access to after-school programs, many of my patients don’t have a safe place to play outside when school lets out.

These programs will be funded by a 0.25 millage rate increase to property taxes, estimated at $30 annually per household but generating approximately $18 million a year for these three services — a modest price to pay for a huge benefit for kids. I ask voters to join me in voting yes to the Allegheny County Children’s Fund on Nov. 6, because our kids are counting on us.

MICHAEL FREEDMAN
Lawrenceville

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