Connecticut received nearly $12.5 million in discretionary federal funding to expand preschool, Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state's congressional delegation announced Dec. 10.

The U.S. departments of Education and Health and Human Services awarded the funding through a competitive grant process.

Connecticut's application aligns with the state's existing preschool infrastructure to expand access to state-funded preschool programs for 428 children and to improve the quality of state-funded preschool programs for another 284 children, for a total of 712 four-year-olds who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line in 14 high-need communities.

The 14 communities are Bridgeport, Derby, East Haven, Griswold, Groton, Hamden, Hebron, Killingly, Manchester, Naugatuck, Seymour, Torrington, Vernon, and Wolcott.

 Thirteen out of 27 states that applied for competitive grants to expand high-quality preschool programs were awarded over $170 million in federal funding.

"This is great news for kids and moves us one step closer to our goal of universal pre-K," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

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