WASHINGTON - July 14, 2016 - America's Public Television Stations (APTS) president and CEO Patrick Butler issued the following statement today commending the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for recommending significant funding for public broadcasting:
"America's Public Television Stations are extremely grateful today for the action of the House Appropriations Committee as they provided level funding of $445 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting under its two-year advance funding mechanism, level funding of $25.7 million in FY 2017 for Ready To Learn and funding of $10 million in FY 2017 for the new public broadcasting interconnection system.
"Today is an important day in the history of public television. For the first time in six years, both the House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee and the full House Appropriations Committee have voted to provide funding for Ready To Learn, a competitive grant program at the Department of Education that supports the creation of public television's on-air, online and on-the-ground educational media content.
"The Committee has recognized that Ready To Learn is a program whose cost-effectiveness has been conclusively demonstrated. Since 2005, more than 100 research and evaluation studies have shown that Ready To Learn literacy and math content engages children, enhances their early learning skills and allows them to make significant academic gains, helping bridge the achievement gap between children from low-income families and their more affluent peers. Public television is watched by 71 percent of all kids ages two to eight and every month, Ready To Learn content reaches 13 million unique visitors online and provides 111 million free video streams. Ready To Learn content is available to all Americans and is widely distributed in communities through local public television stations in partnership with local schools, Head Start centers, libraries, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other community organizations. Ready To Learn helps ensure that at-risk children have educational resources that help them prepare to succeed in school and in life.
"We very much appreciate the Committee's broad bipartisan support for funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and through it the public service missions of 170 public television licensees serving 99 percent of the American people in hundreds of communities around the country. We remain hopeful that as the appropriations process runs its course, full funding of $50 million will be provided for the new interconnection system to help ensure that public television service remains available to every American everywhere, for free, particularly those in the most rural and remote regions.
"We are especially appreciative of the leadership of Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), in creating a broad bipartisan consensus in favor of this funding. We are greatly encouraged by this growing support in Congress -- on both sides of the aisle -- for public broadcasting's essential public service missions in education, public safety and civic leadership, and we will continue to serve our communities across the country and earn that essential support every day."
America's Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct - in concert with member stations - strategic planning, research, communications, advocacy and other activities that foster a strong and financially sound public television system providing essential public services to all Americans. Its affiliate APTS Action, Inc. promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy and through grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner bipartisan political support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.