State moves toward pre school access

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, legislative leaders, Executive Director of the Office of Early Childhood, Myra Jones-Taylor, State Department of Education Commissioner, Stefan Pryor, Mayor Scott Jackson and local officials, today detailed his plan to achieve universal access to pre-kindergarten in Connecticut.

“Let’s commit Connecticut to achieving universal pre-kindergarten,” said Governor Malloy. “This plan is about moving to universal access to early childhood opportunities for all children, regardless of income. We’re not going to get there overnight, which is why I am calling for a phase-in plan that will expand to 4,000 new opportunities by 2019. But let me assure you, we will get there.”

“Providing an opportunity for every child to develop good learning skills at an early age is not only critical to their future as individuals, but to the future of Connecticut,” said Lt. Governor Wyman. “Early education can truly change lives, and help solidify the long-term economic direction of our state. This investment will pay us back dramatically, and lead to a better quality of life for our children now and when they become adults.”

The plan calls for full-day pre-K opportunities for 1,020 children for fiscal year 2015, and will expand to serve a total of 4,010 additional children by 2019. Eligibility will be based on income and will use the existing eligibility requirements for the state’s School Readiness program. In addition to increasing opportunities, the plan will also increase reimbursement rates for state-funded.

Eileen FitzGerald