Emergency Budget Cuts Protect Preschool Slots

Less visible cuts to early care and education.

Emergency Budget Cuts Protect Preschool Slots
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Emergency Budget Cuts Protect Preschool Slots

Governor Malloy’s emergency budget cuts will affect early care and education in Connecticut, but they do not reduce additional preschool slots that were part of this year’s school reform package.

Early care and education programs focus on children birth through age 8 and can include child care and preschool services. The Governor made early childhood education a priority during the last legislative session, and included 1000 new preschool slots in low-income communities. 

On Wednesday his administration unveiled $170 million in wide-ranging spending cuts. 

But Cyd Oppenheimer, senior policy fellow at Connecticut  Voices for Children, says the reductions reflect a commitment to young children.

"There was no cut to our state-funded child care centers which serve children birth through age 12. And there was only a minor cut to our School Readiness funding because there were 1,000 additional slots, it takes some time for additional classrooms to get up and going."

Oppenheimer says there were less-visible cuts, however, to Head Start and to mental health support services.  

"In order to make sure that you have programs that are sufficiently high quality, you need money for comprehensive wraparound services. And we want to make sure that in preserving our slots, we’re not doing it at the expense of quality."

Meanwhile, a planning process is underway to create a more streamlined early care and education system in Connecticut. That proposal is expected to be released early next year. 

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.