by The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Connecticut — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is pushing to expand access to pre-kindergarten in Connecticut, proposing more than 1,000 slots be made available.

The Democrat’s budget, released Thursday, includes $11.5 million to fund the 1,020 new slots, and $2.3 million in startup costs. The goal to have universal access to pre-K by the end of fiscal year 2019. Access will be means-tested, with low-income children receiving priority.

Last year, Malloy’s budget included funding to create 1,000 new pre-K slots for the neediest school districts.

The administration estimates there are unmet needs for pre-K slots for more than 4,000 low-income three- and four-year olds living in those needy school districts.

According to the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, low-income children often are more likely to enter kindergarten significantly behind their more affluent peers.

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