PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — There are now fewer preschoolers in Pennsylvania.

New data shows the first Pre-K enrollment drop in two decades. The National Institute for Early Education Research reports a drop from 48,000 to 40,000 children enrolled in state-funded preschools. The group believes this puts children at a disadvantage going into kindergarten.

“Teachers tell us, you know, children don’t know how to hold a crayon, they don’t know how to use scissors, they don’t know how to pay attention to what the teacher wants them to pay attention to. More than half of the children in Pennsylvania are eligible, but far fewer are actually served. And the only reason for that is the lack of funding,” Co-Director & Founder, Steve Barnett said.

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There is also the issue of some preschools saying they cannot hire enough staff because of a lack of funding and therefore, have to turn away some applicants. This year, funding for Pre-K in Pennsylvania was reduced by $22 million.