oec: Gov. Malloy Announces Allocation of Pre-K Opportunities Across Connecticut
2014

Gov. Malloy Announces Allocation of Pre-K Opportunities Across Connecticut

 

1,020 Additional Low-Income Children in 46 Cities & Towns Will Be Able to Attend High-Quality Preschool

 

(MERIDEN, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, and local officials, this morning announced the allocation of 1,020 additional School Readiness opportunities for low-income children in 46 towns and cities throughout Connecticut. In 2012, Governor Malloy approved a similar expansion of 1,000 School Readiness opportunities for children throughout the state.

“Investing in high-quality education is the single most important investment we can make in our state and our economy. That has driven my efforts from day one as Mayor of Stamford and Governor of Connecticut,” said Governor Malloy.  “With this expansion, we are taking immediate steps to provide 1,020 additional children in low-income families with a strong start and foundation for lifelong success.”

To be eligible for School Readiness funding, programs must be accredited or pursuing accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) or be a Federal Head Start approved program. The additional 1,020 opportunities will become available at the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The expansion was included in Public Act 14-39 which was signed by Governor Malloy in May. The School Readiness Program is a state-funded program which provides high-quality preschool to low-income 3- and 4-year olds in Priority and Competitive School Districts in Connecticut. Priority School districts include the eight towns in the state with the largest population, the top eleven towns with the highest number of children under the temporary family assistance program, and the top eleven towns with the highest ratio of children under the temporary family assistance program. A Competitive School District is a town that has a priority school (a school in which 40 percent or more of the lunches served go to students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch) or any town ranked in the bottom 50 towns in the state in town wealth.

“We know that low-income children who have not had access to high-quality preschool face greater challenges in comparison to their wealthier peers who have had high-quality preschool experiences,” said Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, Commissioner for the Office of Early Childhood. “This expansion will give 1,020 more 3- and 4-year-olds a chance to grow and learn in an enriched learning environment with qualified teachers, providing them with the experience they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. It is high-quality early care and education programs, like the School Readiness Program, that bring us closer to closing the achievement gap.”

The expansion of 1,020 opportunities is part of a five-year plan to expand the School Readiness Program to serve a total of 4,010 additional children by 2019. The plan will provide high quality pre-kindergarten for approximately 1,000 additional children for each of the first three years and 500 children during each of the last two years of the plan.

Based on existing data, including the number of children currently enrolled in the Free and Reduced Price Lunch program in low-income districts, the percentage of children estimated who do not attend a child care program, and the number of children already accessing state-funded programs within low-income districts, it was determined that there was a need of 4,010 3- and 4-year-old low-income children who did not have access to pre-k.

FY 2015 School Readiness Summary Expansion

Priority School Districts

Priority School districts include the eight towns in the state with the largest population, the top eleven towns with the highest number of children under the temporary family assistance program, and the top eleven towns with the highest ratio of children under the temporary family assistance program.

Town

Approved Spaces

Town

Approved Spaces

Ansonia

3

New Britain

101

Bloomfield

8

New Haven

8

Bridgeport

126

New London

12

Bristol

73

Norwalk

70

Danbury

7

Norwich

36

East Hartford

39

Stamford

37

Hartford

40

Waterbury

15

Meriden

35

West Haven

5

Middletown

6

Windham

31

 
Competitive School Districts
 

Competitive School Districts are towns that have a priority school (a school in which 40% or more of the lunches served are served to students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch) or any town ranked in the bottom 50 towns in the state in town wealth.

Town

Approved Spaces

Town

Approved Spaces

Chaplin

2

Naugatuck

8

Colchester

1

North Canaan

3

Coventry

3

Plainville

10

East Haven

12

Shelton

20

Enfield

3

Sprague

6

Greenwich

5

Thomaston

2

Griswold

26

Torrington

23

Groton

13

Vernon

30

Hamden

29

Voluntown

15

Killingly

35

West Hartford

12

Lebanon

4

Winchester

7

Ledyard

3

Windsor

10

Manchester

26

Windsor Locks

24

Milford

29

Wolcott

7

 

“Children who have access to quality pre-K have improved performance and behavior in the classroom, are more likely to read at grade level and have higher high school graduation rates,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn).  “The creation of new School Readiness slots and the Smart Start program represent an historic step toward universal access to pre-K in Connecticut.”

“Access to school readiness programs is critical to providing quality educational opportunities for all children and significantly increasing their chances for future success,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden).  “Having school readiness slots available to as many young children as possible not only better prepares them for grade school but is also a solid long term investment for taxpayers.”  

“Early childhood education gives our kids the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and in the future,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington).  “These additional School Readiness slots provide children who are most at risk the opportunity to get ahead at an early age.”

“From Greenwich to Enfield to Groton, this increased funding will change the education trajectory of thousands of Connecticut children for the better,” said State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who is Senate Vice-Chairwoman of the legislature's Education Committee and a longtime advocate of school readiness.  “Governor Malloy and the legislature are on the right track in their support for more quality pre-school education experiences.”

In addition, Public Act 14-41 established the Connecticut Smart Start Program which is intended to expand preschool opportunities for low-income children in public schools. Connecticut Smart Start will provide grants in FY15 for the renovation of existing public school classrooms to accommodate public preschool programs. Up to $100 million for renovations will be available over a 10-year period, with a maximum of $10 million per year. Funding for public preschool classrooms will begin in FY16 with $100 million in operating funding available over a 10-year period (maximum $10 million per year) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

The Office of Early Childhood is responsible for the administration of the School Readiness Program. For more information about the expansion, please go to www.ct.gov/oec/upk.

###

For Immediate Release: June 11, 2014

Contact: Samaia Hernandez

Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy

Samaia.Hernandez@ct.gov

860-524-7314 (office)

860-770-8298 (cell)

 

Contact: Diana Lejardi

Office of Early Childhood

Diana.Lejardi@ct.gov

860-713-6414 (office)

860-833-1723 (cell)

 

Check out pictures on our Facebook page from our visit to the preschool program at the Meriden YMCA: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.550413791734303.1073741841.456991717743178&type=1

 

 

 

 





Content Last Modified on 6/12/2014 12:21:34 PM