Conn. Senate votes to expand preschool programs

State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Tom Parent)
State Capitol in Hartford (WTNH / Tom Parent)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An effort to expand early childhood education offerings to more needy Connecticut families has cleared a key hurdle.

The state Senate on Friday voted 33-2 in favor of a wide-ranging bill that adds thousands of additional preschool slots and provides grants to any community that can demonstrate an unmet need for preschool education, especially for needy children.

Democratic Sen. Beth Bye of West Hartford said early childhood education “is one tool that we know closes the achievement gap” between wealthy and poor students.

Bye acknowledged the state won’t be able to reach every child in Connecticut who needs preschool — a goal of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. But she said the state will be able to reach thousands more under this legislation. It awaits action in the House of Representatives.

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