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Bridgeport Pulls Together Experts For Talks On Expanding Pre-K

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter attends a meeting about pre-K access on Monday in Bridgeport.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter attends a meeting about pre-K access on Monday in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: City of Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter joined Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and other city officials and community leaders in the Nutmeg State’s largest city to discuss universal pre-k efforts on Monday.

The meeting included 15 members of Bridgeport’s Universal Pre-K Task Force, which Finch formally put together months ago.

If Bridgeport were to use the universal pre-k definition used in Seattle and San Francisco, Cali., it has already reached universal pre-k. However, Finch and Superintendent of Schools Fran Rabinowitz launched the Pre-K Task Force due to a commitment to expand the definition of universal pre-k.

“Mayor Finch is doing the right thing by having My Brother’s Keeper in the city,” said Nutter. “And, the City of Bridgeport is closer than we in Philadelphia are to achieving universal pre-k. So I’m here to learn today from you and your task force.”

Nutter recently championed a ballot initiative in his city to create a Universal Pre-K Commission, which was passed overwhelmingly by voters in May. The commission has 17 members who are tasked with devising a plan to expand the city’s high-quality pre-k options and fund them.

Nutter also serves as co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, which is a White House led initiative that includes increasing Pre-K access in cities as one of its key focus areas.

Finch announced earlier this year that Bridgeport is taking part in the My Brother’s Keeper program.

“In Bridgeport, we’re making significant progress toward reaching universal pre-k, and want to make sure we define it in a way that works for hardworking Bridgeporters,” said Finch.

“Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and through our involvement in My Brother’s Keeper, we’ve been fortunate to work with Mayor Nutter. He’s a great friend, and a great friend to Bridgeport. Together, cities are working together to share ideas and come up with solutions that work for everyone.”

In Bridgeport, over 90 percent of the city's 3- and 4-year-olds have access to pre-K. However, not all the seats are filled with students. Bridgeport’s Universal Pre-K task force is charged with improving the attendance, accessibility, affordability, and quality of city-wide pre-K.

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