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APTS Praises Preservation of Public Funding

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will get $445 million according to the White House's budget proposal released Monday.

Noncom funding had been threatened by budget-cutters, including the President's own independent commission. But in the end, funding remained, as did the forward-finding process that is supposed to insulate it from politics.

Slated for cutbacks are the Ready To Learn curriculum-based early learning program, which the White House plans to consolidate with other education programs.

And, as expected, the budget zeroes out the Rural Utilities Service Public Television Digital Transition Grant program.

The Association of Public Television Stations, on balance, was pleased. It mourned the end of the stand-alone Ready To Learn program, which it said "has a proven track record of building the reading skills of children between the ages of 2 and 8." APTS also said that it still hoped there could be room in a $3.9 trillion budget for $3 million for the rural telecom program.

But, all in all, it praised the continued funding and the President for "enabling the 170 public television licensees around the country to continue their essential service to 170 million Americans in education, job training, emergency alert systems, public affairs programming that makes us better citizens, and historical, scientific and cultural programming that brings out the best in the American people," said APTS CEO Patrick Butler.