oec: Governor Malloy Announces Fourteen Communities Awarded Funding to Create 416 Additional Preschool Slots
2015

Governor Malloy Announces Fourteen Communities Awarded Funding to Create 416 Additional Preschool Slots

 
Funds for Smart Start Initiative Will Expand the Availability of High-Quality Preschool in Public Schools Across Connecticut
 
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that over $3.5 million in state funding is being awarded to fourteen towns and cities across Connecticut that will expand the availability of high-quality preschool to 416 additional children.
 
Funds for the expansion come under the state’s Smart Start initiative.  This is the first year of the ten-year initiative.  A total of $1,587,055 for capital improvements will be considered at an upcoming meeting of the State Bond Commission, in addition to $2,088,350 for operational expenses from the Tobacco Settlement fund.
 
“We must ensure that children are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in life – regardless of income or zip code,” said Governor Malloy.  “Expanding the availability of preschool options in our state will prepare them for college and careers in a global, 21st Century economy.”
 
“Expanding access to early education is key to ensuring all of our students get to Kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.  “This funding opens up access to high-quality pre-K learning spots for hundreds of children throughout Connecticut and makes all of our schools stronger and more competitive.”
 
The fourteen communities receiving Smart Start funding are:  Ansonia, Bridgeport, Clinton, Coventry, East Hartford, East Haven, Enfield, Killingly, Norwich, Plainfield, Stamford, Wallingford, West Hartford and Windsor.
 
Communities applying for capital improvements are expected to go before the State Bond Commission in April with funding anticipated to be available in May.  Operational expenses for classrooms beginning in September will be available in July.
 
“Thanks to Smart Start, 416 more three and four-year-olds in Connecticut will be able to attend high-quality preschool this fall,” said Office of Early Childhood Commissioner Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor.  “By partnering with our local school districts, we will not only be able to expand access to preschool, but also build upon the pre-K to Third Grade continuum, improving educational outcomes for our children.”
 
“One of the reasons I helped develop Connecticut’s Smart Start initiative was to  have the state partner with communities in order to provide high-quality, accredited pre-school classes for children,” said State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), who was an outspoken advocate of last year’s Smart Start legislation.  “The end result is that as of today, hundreds of parents and kids in more than a dozen cities and towns across Connecticut are going to have brand new access to high-quality, NAEYC-accredited pre-K programs.”
 
Smart Start was signed into law by Governor Malloy in 2014 with the intent of expanding preschool in public school settings.  In order to be eligible for Smart Start funding, districts need to demonstrate an unmet need for preschool in their communities.  In addition, Smart Start preschool classrooms must provide high-quality early education including a minimum of school-day and school-year programming; hold accreditation and be in good standing with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), be approved and/or in good standing with the federal Head Start program, have documentation that they are in the process of obtaining accreditation from NAEYC or have a plan to ensure that the program will be accredited within three years of receiving funding through Smart Start; classroom sizes do not exceed 18 children; and priority enrollment for children from low-income families, children with special needs and children who are dual language learners receive priority enrollment.
 
Up to $100 million in bonding for capital improvements will be available over a ten-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 ten-year period (maximum $10 million per year) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.
 
Funds announced today are as follows:
 
 
Classrooms
Students 
Capital Improvement Funding 
(State Bond Funds,
one-time only)
Operations Funding 
(Tobacco Settlement Fund)
Ansonia 
1
15
$0
$75,000
Bridgeport
4
60
$164,000
$300,000
Clinton
1
15
$75,000
$75,000
Coventry
2
30
$150,000
$150,000
East Hartford
2
30
 $150,000
$150,000
East Haven
2
30
$148,055
$150,000
Enfield
2
26
$150,000
$130,000
Killingly
1
15
$75,000
$75,000
Norwich
1
15
$75,000
$75,000
Plainfield
1
15
$75,000
$75,000
Stamford
1
15
$75,000
$75,000
Wallingford
2
30
$150,000
$150,000
West Hartford
4
60
$0
$293,350
Windsor
4
60
$300,000
$300,000
Total
28 classrooms
416 children
$1,587,055
$2,073,350

For more information about Smart Start, please visit the Office of Early Childhood website at www.ct.gov/oec/smartstart.




Content Last Modified on 3/3/2015 9:24:32 AM