Governor’s Budget Proposal Emphasizes Early Childhood Investment

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When Governor Newsom presented his budget last week, he sent a clear message that improving access to quality care and learning for young children is a top priority.

The Budget proposes the development of a plan to achieve universal preschool for all children in California. It calls for a one-time General Fund investment of $500 million for child care infrastructure and education opportunities for California’s child care workforce.

The long list of proposed expansions, increases, changes and edits will form the basis of the budget discussions between the Governor and Legislature leading to a revised proposal, due in May. The fact that early learning will be an important component of these discussions represents significant progress for the early care and learning field. There will also be a complicated series of negotiations as proposed legislation related to early learning makes its way through the State Assembly and Senate.

Following are some of the specific elements related to early care and learning that were spelled out in Governor Newsom’s budget proposal:

  • $10 million in one-time, non-Proposition 98 funding for the development of a longitudinal data system that will connect student data starting with early education providers.

  • Funding for universal preschool for all income-eligible four-year-old children in the state, phased in over a 3-year period

  • Eliminating the requirement that families with four-year-olds provide proof of parent employment or enrollment in higher education to access the full-day California State Preschool Program.

  • $750 million one-time funding to address barriers to full-day kindergarten for the 22% of districts that do not provide it.

  • $500 million in one time expenditures to both 1) expand subsidized child care facilities in the state and 2) make a significant investment in the education of the child care workforce to improve the quality of care and move child care professionals along the early education/child care professional continuum.

  • $122 million in increased funding of Cal Grant awards for student-parents with dependent children attending California’s public colleges.

  • $50 million one-time funding to support Child Savings Account pilot projects and partnerships with First 5 California, local First 5 Commissions, local government, and philanthropy.

  • More than $100 million to expand home visiting programs

  • $60 million to increase the number of children in Medi-Cal receiving developmental screenings.

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