Malloy announces 1,000 more PreK slots

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — More than a thousand more kids will be eligible for PreK this fall. It’s part of an expansion just signed into law by the governor.

The release of the butterflies they had been watching since they were caterpillars was probably the highlight of the end of the school year for the kids at the Meriden YMCA child care center Wednesday, not the appearance of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy whose event was delayed while the kids settled down.

“Special note to planners of such events: butterflies are released last,” said Malloy. “It helps on the concentration side.”

But the reason for his appearance was to announce the allocation of more than 1,000 more PreK slots in 46 Connecticut communities.

It brings to 12,000 the number of kids from lower income families that will get the jump on school across the state.

“When a student who comes into your classroom not speaking or understanding English and then the day you hear them talking with their peers and the other students and making friends … you realize just how much of an impact you’re making,” said Kristen Erdos, a PreK teacher.

The plan is to expand PreK for another 3,000 kids over the next four years.

“To make sure that we develop a program that insures no child loses the opportunity to have a PreK learning experience because of their parents’ income or their zip code,” said Malloy.

Legislation signed by Malloy also officially creates the Office of Early Childhood,

The following information on the priority school districts is from the Governor’s office:

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 # of Approved Expansion Spaces Town # of Approved Expansion 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 # of Approved Expansion Spaces Town # of Approved Expansion 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


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