Christine Stuart photo
Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy, one of two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, released his “Life-Long Learning” plan Monday to a classroom of kindergarteners at Parkville Community School in Hartford. As he pieced together puzzles with students and Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, Malloy spoke about the importance of early childhood education. “It’s not a question of how much universal pre-kindergarten costs,” Malloy said. “The question is how much it will cost if we don’t do it.“But it’s not clear whether the state can afford universal pre-kindergarten because there were few, if any, numbers in Malloy’s plan. He said he wasn’t trying to be coy about the numbers. It just wasn’t something he could calculate until he was able to gauge public interest in it. Click here to read Malloy’s plan.
Malloy said the plan is to make sure every child who can’t afford a pre-kindergarten education receives one. Like the School Readiness Council that oversees pre-kindergarten programs in the state, enrollment would be based on income and a sliding scale. He said it doesn’t cover every child because some parents can afford to give their children a pre-kindergarten experience.But how much will it cost? Estimates say $7,900 per child. But there’s no data on how many children would enroll. Malloy’s pre-kindergarten program piggybacks on the state’s School Readiness program, which is administered locally amongst a wide variety of providers, such as private daycares. The problem with the School Readiness program is that there are not enough slots for those who qualify, and creating more slots won’t implement the program quick enough, Malloy said. In addition to the early childhood piece, Malloy said his “Life-Long Learning” plan looks at improving access to higher education, job training, and professional development. In the plan, Malloy would restore $10 million to the state’s higher education budget, while using another $20 million to reduce tuitions. Another $1 million would be used to institute seasonal pricing for students who take classes in the summer and winter months and $1 million would be used for tuition rebates.Malloy’s plan would give a $1,000 rebate on tuition to college students that graduate in four years with a B+ or better grade point average. The cost of the job training postion of the plan will be paid for with Emergency Workforce Training Credits would be $3 million and incumbent worker training will be $3 million. As the final note, Malloy proposed an additional $500,000 for “Teach for Connecticut” scholarships.How the state would pay for these initiatives under a Malloy administration was not included in the plan.