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12/10/2014 - Mayor Finch, Supt. Rabinowitz, and Cong. Himes on federal funding for 180 new pre-k seats in Bridgeport, Conn.

“This is great news for kids and moves us one step closer to our goal of universal pre-k.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

Bridgeport, Conn. (December 10, 2014) – Today, the federal government announced that Bridgeport, Conn. will be getting 180 new pre-k seats for kids, in addition to 90 renovation seats. These pre-k seats will be funded by the federal government for the next four years. It’s been awarded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services through a competitive grant process and was announced by the White House.

In response, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch heralded this as great new for kids in the state’s largest city.

“This is great news for kids and moves us one step closer to our goal of universal pre-k. As a parent, and mayor of the state's largest city, I've seen firsthand how tough it is for kids who don't have access to high-quality early childhood education. And research is clear: If kids aren't reading at the level they should be by third grade, they're less likely to graduate. We need to do more for our kids. That’s why these funds are so important. Between today’s announcement, and the additional seats given by Governor Malloy and the state legislature, we’ve gained more than 325 new seats over the last two years. It’s another great step in our effort to ensure all kids have access good pre-k programs, which will help prepare them to one day compete for 21st century jobs.”

Bridgeport Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz added that this is good start toward getting all kids access to pre-k programs in the city.

“I’m thrilled about this announcement. Currently, more than one-in-four kids that are eligible for pre-k in Bridgeport do not have access. That’s unacceptable. But thanks to these new seats, we’re moving one step closer to achieving the goal of universal pre-k for kids. It’s another example of how Bridgeport schools are getting better every day.”

Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) highlighted that this is a smart investment by the federal government in a better future for kids.

“Early childhood education programs are some of the smartest investments we can make as a nation to help children succeed and improve our communities. I was proud to join the state and the city of Bridgeport in pushing for this grant, which will boost the number of pre-school spots for low and middle-income children in Bridgeport. I will keep urging Congress to pass legislation I've introduced - modeled on successful efforts in Bridgeport - to expand and improve early education across the country.”