Governor remains committed to universal TK, providing every 4-year-old access to a high-quality pre-kindergarten experience
SACRAMENTO, CA – Advocacy organization Early Edge California commends Governor Gavin Newsom for proposing a 2023-24 state budget today that includes key investments to support California’s youngest learners in spite of the significant deficit the state faces this year. His continued commitment to strengthening the Early Learning and Care system is clear as he embarks on his second term.
During his first four years in office, Governor Newsom, in partnership with the California Legislature, worked to strengthen Early Learning and Care. Through the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to all 4-year-olds by the 2025-26 school year, collective bargaining for subsidized home-based child care providers, expansion of eligibility to the State Preschool Program, and increased investments to the mixed-delivery system, Newsom and the Legislature have made great in-roads.
Despite the $30 billion shortfall the state currently faces, the Governor’s latest budget proposal protects critical investments and efforts to strengthen California’s Early Learning and Care mixed-delivery system, as well as services and programs for children, families, teachers, and caregivers. Early Edge celebrates new funding to get the state closer to Universal TK by providing $690 million for the second year of TK expansion, which will increase access to the program to all children turning five years old between September 2 and April 2 and $165 million to ensure TK classrooms have smaller student-adult ratios of 12:1. When expansion is complete in 2025, California will have the largest, free preschool program in the country, serving nearly 400,000 children. We applaud the Governor for continuing to stand by his promise to provide all children with free preschool.
Additionally, the Governor’s budget proposes the following investments in the Early Learning and Care system:
- Maintains $2 billion to expand subsidized child care slot availability and ultimately increase the amount of slots by more than 200,000.
- $64.5 million Proposition 98 General Fund and $51.8 million General Fund to fund the second year of a three-year plan to ramp up the inclusivity adjustments for the State Preschool Program including children with additional needs, Dual Language Learners, and early childhood mental health. Students with disabilities will be required to make up at least 7.5 percent of State Preschool Program providers’ enrollment.
- $763,000 Proposition 98 General Fund to support high-quality preschool programs through the preschool Classroom Assessment Scoring System which helps assess the quality of teacher-child interactions.
- Provides a cost-of-living-adjustment of 8.13 percent to Child Care and Development Programs and the State Preschool Program.
- Expresses commitment to develop and implement a single reimbursement rate structure based on the recommendations formed by the workgroup convened in 2022 by the Department of Social Services. The state will continue to work with Child Care Providers United union to negotiate a successor agreement to the current agreement expiring June 30, 2023.
“Governor Newsom continues to be a champion for families and children in his budget plans for this upcoming fiscal year. We are pleased to see that the goal to reach universal TK in 2025-26 is still on track. We are grateful for the Governor’s caution in navigating California through budgetary uncertainties, while continuing to prioritize our state’s youngest learners, as well as the adults who support them. We thank the Governor for keeping his promise to our state’s children, working families, and Early Learning workforce,” said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director of Early Edge California.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Governor, his Administration, and the Legislature on the implementation of all the great investments made during his first term including in our role as a member of California’s new UPK Mixed-delivery Quality and Access Workgroup to ensure we are providing young children with quality Early Learning experiences. As the Governor continues to champion Early Learning and Care over the next four years, we hope to see increases to wages, compensation, and professional development and training of the Early Learning and Care workforce prioritized to ensure California’s children and families have access to high-quality Early Learning options.
# # #
Early Edge California is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to improving access to high-quality Early Learning experiences for all California children so they can have a strong foundation for future success.