Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed mandating full-day kindergarten across the state. While this plan would likely be favorable to many parents, it has the head of the state's superintendents' association concerned about how it will be funded.
Joe Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said Malloy's proposal to have full-day kindergarten by 2017 is "a major unfunded mandate."
In his Wednesday budget address, Malloy said he wanted to partner with local districts to make this happen. Cirasuolo said he hopes Malloy's words turn into action.
"Without some financial assistance by the state, by 2017, it's going to be very difficult for districts to put in all-day kindergarten, because to do that, they'd have to cut some other educational program," Cirasuolo said.
Malloy's suggestion is likely to be supported by many parents, since full-day kindergarten is often linked to better student success in the long-term, but it could get some backlash from cash-strapped districts that are unclear about how this plan will be funded.
"Over the next two years, we’ll work with towns that don’t yet offer full day kindergarten," Malloy said. "We'll make sure all our youngsters receive the time they need to learn and reach their full potential -- right from the moment they enter elementary school."
Funding details weren't presented in the governor's speech, but he said this move would build off of last year's initiative to offer pre-school to all children.
Many districts have already made the transition to full-day kindergarten. In 2012, there were 36 school districts across Connecticut that only provide half-day kindergarten. Another 13 districts offer half-day kindergarten to some kids.
For the 2014-15 school year, only 13 districts are not offering full-day kindergarten to the majority of their students, according to Kelly Donnelly, a spokesman for the State Department of Education.