HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget address, he called for nearly $67 million dollars to maintain childcare access for 75,000 low-income families. However, advocates say that doesn’t help solve the root of the early education problem: low wages, which feeds a staffing shortage.

“So, unless the staffing crisis is addressed this system can’t serve more children as we said through our survey, we know that there are classrooms closed because they don’t have enough teachers to staff them,” said Jen Debell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children.

Staffing has always been a problem in the childcare industry. The average early childhood teacher earns just $12.50 an hour, and one in five of those teachers have to rely on government assistance.

According to the Stay Strong PA Survey, Pennsylvania’s childcare system is short about 4,000 workers and 35,000 children are on waitlists.

“This workforce is the is the one that helps all other businesses run. It helps parents work, it helps prepare our children for entering school, and promotes their healthy development,” said Debell.

Shapiro’s budget proposal would give $30 million dollars to the Pre-K Counts Program and $3 million to the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.

But still, nothing to boost wages for badly-needed workers.

“They’re the ones trained in child development and prepare them for school, so without those high-quality teachers in the classroom that’s a detriment to the children. We see the other negative impact is that when there’s turnover, that’s really difficult for children, they really need those stable connections with adults to have healthy development,” said Debell.

Lawmakers still have to negotiate a final budget, so plenty of things can change before it’s due at the end of June.