State Senate Passes Early Childhood Education Bill

A bill creating a new competitive grant program that aims to increase access to pre-kindergarten slots across Connecticut is moving to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's desk.

The Senate on Saturday approved legislation, on a 32-2 vote, that creates a new program called Connecticut Smart Start. It provides capital grants to any municipality that can demonstrate an unmet need for preschool education. There will be a focus on providing services to needy children.

The bill had already cleared the House of Representatives.

Senate President Donald Williams Jr. said providing quality pre-K services can lessen the achievement gap in Connecticut between wealthy and needy students and ultimately save the state money in remedial education and other costs.

Besides Connecticut Smart Start, lawmakers also approved Malloy's plans for 1,020 additional pre-K slots.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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