HARTFORD — The state would spend $200 million over 10 years to broaden statewide prekindergarten applications underneath an formidable plan that leaders of the Connecticut legislature introduced Wednesday.
Pre-Okay applications will present quite a few advantages, mentioned Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr., showing with different Democratic leaders on the Capitol to element the proposal.
“It’s the one absolutely proven way of reducing the achievement gap,” he mentioned. “It’s the way that we have the maximum number of children reading at grade level by the third grade and beyond. It has positive health outcomes throughout the life of a child as they become an adult. It results in higher high school graduation rates. This is a winner across the board.”
Funding can be break up with $100 million being borrowed for classroom renovation and $100 million from the Tobacco Trust Fund for working prices.
Lawmakers say the proposal would supply prekindergarten alternatives for doubtlessly 50,000 youngsters, about 60 p.c of Connecticut’s 3- and 4-year-olds. The program would begin within the funds yr starting July 1, however “will take time to ramp up,” Williams mentioned.
Teachers can be required to be licensed and applications have to be accredited inside three years of receiving cash.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed a prekindergarten program for the following funds yr. His plan, which Williams mentioned requires 4,000 slots, would first goal low-income youngsters with the aim of attaining common entry to pre-Okay by the top of 2019.
Legislative leaders mentioned their plan goes past Malloy’s proposal.
Any metropolis or city that may display a necessity for preschool could apply for cash. Towns might be a part of collectively to create a regional program and submit a joint proposal.
Democrats together with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have made prekindergarten a precedence. Backers say pre-Okay can erase disadvantages amongst low-income youngsters beginning kindergarten behind wealthier friends whose mother and father can afford non-public preschool.
However, few communities which have established common pre-Okay have rapidly added many school rooms.
State Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, mentioned pre-Okay applications can use empty area in many colleges and Connecticut has a report of state and native academic partnerships “that get things done.”