Over at blog neighbor Washington Policy Watch they're talking about the potential financial advantages to prekindergarten programs, quoting research done by Sarah Mead at the Early Ed Watch Blog. The take-home message is that every dollar invested in pre-K can be looked at as an investment that returns $2.88; if you spend $1,000,000,000 on pre-K, you'll save $2,880,000,000 in the long run.
If valid, it's a good case to make. The trouble with back-end saving like this is that legislators have an obligation to balance the budget that is in front of them, and even if pre-K can be considered an "investment" (which is a case that Governor Gregoire and others have been happy to make) if there's no money available to front load the program then the savings will always be theoretical.
Pre-K is absolutely worth it. Many things are. It'll be interesting to see how the Legislature grapples with these issues in the next session.