Mayor Kenney unveils first phase of pre-K initiative

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, making pre-K affordable for all city kids was a main component of his campaign.

On Thursday, he rolled out the first phase of his locally-funded, PHL Pre-K initiative.

Inside the Colombia North YMCA on North Broad Street, families learned how they can apply for one of the 2,000 new pre-K spots opening up in January.

Dozens of local schools will be selected based on need, and awarded $8,500 per student.

The plan is to fund it through the city's controversial beverage tax, but Kenney says there is a backup plan.

"We're not going to sit around and wait - kids can't wait anymore. They've waited too long, and we're moving ahead. There are contingency plans. We are not laying them out at this point, but this is a priority for us, these programs, and we are going to move forward," said Kenney.

The city also announced a new portal - a resource for Philadelphia families with children up to the age of 5.

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