A Smart Start for Coventry

March 5, 2015

Hartford, CT – State Senator Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) released the following statement today re: Expansion of the Smart Start Pre-School Program in the town of Coventry. The town will add two classrooms of pre-k allowing 30 children to receive the early education. Coventry will be funded $150,000 for one time capital improvements from the state. The annual operating costs will be approximately $150,000 as well – money to cover those costs for the first few years of operation will be taken out of the state’s Tobacco Settlement fund. The entire Smart Start will expand pre-k around the state for an additional 28 classrooms educating 416 children at a cost of more than $3.5 million over a ten year period.

“I am very supportive of the town of Coventry getting this state investment. Pre-k for our youngest students can make a world of difference when they get into first grade and beyond. The added schooling has shown to enhance a child’s mind and allows them to truly blossom to their fullest potential. Districts like Coventry should take advantage of these programs and build them up to be self-sustaining for the next generation of students. ”


Smart Start was signed into law in 2014 with the intent of expanding preschool in public school settings. In order to be eligible for Smart Start funding, districts need to demonstrate an unmet need for preschool in their communities. In addition, Smart Start preschool classrooms must provide high-quality early education including a minimum of school-day and school-year programming; hold accreditation and be in good standing with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), be approved and/or in good standing with the federal Head Start program, have documentation that they are in the process of obtaining accreditation from NAEYC or have a plan to ensure that the program will be accredited within three years of receiving funding through Smart Start; classroom sizes do not exceed 18 children; and priority enrollment for children from low-income families, children with special needs and children who are dual language learners receive priority enrollment.

Up to $100 million in bonding for capital improvements will be available over a ten-year period, with a maximum of $10 million per year. Funding for public preschool classrooms will begin in FY16 with $100 million in operating funding available over a ten-year period (maximum $10 million per year) from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.

For more information about Smart Start, please visit the Office of Early Childhood website at www.ct.gov/oec/smartstart.