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Statement by PBS President & CEO Paula Kerger on the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act
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On December 18, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act which includes an appropriation of $445 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), $40 million for upgrading public broadcasting’s interconnection system, and $25.7 million for the Department of Education’s Ready To Learn program. 

“On behalf of all PBS member stations, I would like to thank Congress and the President for their continued support and for acknowledging the value public television delivers to communities across the country.  This essential federal investment represents critical seed money that allows member stations to provide the American people with local services and outstanding content that educates, informs and inspires.  We appreciate this investment in the future of public media, and we look forward to continuing our years of work with Congress and the Administration to serve the American people,” said Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS. 

The funding for interconnection is critical to upgrading and replacing a system that is the backbone of public media -- distributing programming and related materials to stations, enabling the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service to access PBS programs for broadcast to U.S. troops at home and abroad, and providing a back-up path for geo-targeted Wireless Emergency Alert messages from the federal government to participating cellular carriers. 

Ready to Learn is a competitive grant program at the U.S. Department of Education that uses public television’s research-based educational content to build the math and reading skills of children between the ages of two and eight, especially those from low-income families.  Local stations also leverage their relationships with community partners to bring these educational resources to the kids and families that need them most through targeted on-the-ground outreach at schools, pre-schools, daycare centers, libraries, and mobile learning labs.  Since 2005, more than 80 research and evaluation studies have demonstrated that public media’s multimedia literacy and math content engages children, enhances their early learning skills, and allows them to make significant academic gains helping to close the achievement gap.