Lamont pushes additional $43 million education funding to state legislature

Back • Publication Date: February 14, 2024 • Education & Employment, Fiscal & Economics

Gov. Ned Lamont urged the state legislature to increase early childhood education services by $43 million at the General Assembly in Hartford, Wednesday morning.

The proposed increase would top the already approved $45 million designated for providing services like day care and education readiness.

“Expanding access to early childhood education has numerous benefits that include not only supporting children but uplifting entire families and improving economic outcomes,” Lamont said in a statement.

Lamont’s urging for additional funding comes amid growing calls for greater allocation to childhood resources statewide. CT Voices for Children’s latest report highlighted the critical need for expansive and robust early care and education.

Its findings unveiled that Connecticut’s child care issues continue to persist specifically impacting women of color. These disparities have long-lasting effects on parent productivity and children’s education.

Connecticut currently has the third-highest childcare costs in the country. More funds allocated to ensuring costs aren’t burdening families can improve that statistic. The non-profit told Connecticut Public that addressing the gaps for the state’s 45,730 children will improve childhood advancement, specifically among marginalized families.

Last year, an expert panel met to develop a five-year improvement plan for the state’s early childhood education system. The Blue Ribbon Panel, dispatched by Lamont, found that $2 billion was needed to overhaul and improve the current childhood care apparatus.

The plan would include higher wages and expanded benefits for teachers, flexible child care schedules, subsidies for parents, expanded grants for child care institutions and technological improvements.

“You can’t just expand — you need the systems in place to do that,” Beth Bye, commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, said.

Under Lamont’s administration, state funding for early childhood education services has grown from $214.1 million to $404.5 million, an 88.9% increase.

If approved, the increase in funds would be applied to the state’s 2025 fiscal budget.

Terell Wright is a Larry Lunden News Intern based in New London. He attends Connecticut College, where he is studying political economy and history. Wright has reported for various outlets including The Day, American City Business Journals and WABE.
Authors: Terell Wright •  Source: CT Public • View