For Immediate Release
June 15, 2017
(Oakland, CA)—Deborah Kong, interim executive director of Early Edge California, issued the following statement on the California State Legislature’s vote to approve the 2017-18 Budget Act today:
“This budget makes modest yet essential progress for young children and families in California. Each step to improve access to preschool and child care helps children to reach their full potential in kindergarten and beyond.
“I thank Governor Brown, Speaker Rendon, Pro Tem de León, the Legislature, and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus for not only standing by last year’s commitment to increase provider reimbursement rates and preschool access but for reducing the unnecessary eligibility burdens placed on today’s families who need preschool and child care.
“That said, lawmakers have much more work to do to provide the kind of quality early learning that truly pays off for children, families, and our state. We must expand our early learning priorities and ensure early childhood educators and caregivers, who are the lynchpin of quality, are well-trained and well-equipped to promote children’s healthy learning and development.
“I look forward to working with policymakers and fellow Commissioners on the Speaker’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education to continue to address poverty in California and ensure every child has the opportunity to benefit from a high-quality early education.”
The 2017-18 Budget Act reflects a compromise reached earlier this week between Governor Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León. Throughout the budget cycle, legislative leadership and the Legislative Women’s Caucus spoke out about prioritizing early care and education investments.
The budget updates decade-old early childhood program income eligibility requirements, ensures 12-month continuity in care, and allows children with exceptional needs to take up available part-day state preschool slots if all income-eligible children are served. The budget also upholds the agreement in the 2016-17 Budget Act to increase outdated reimbursement rates for early childhood providers and expand full-day state preschool for nearly 3,000 more children.
In addition, the budget requires the Legislative Analyst’s Office to convene a stakeholder process and submit recommendations on health and safety regulations to the Legislature, and the Departments of Education Department and Finance. The Department of Education will then begin an emergency regulation process, and State Preschool programs run by Local Educational Agencies will be exempt from Title 22 requirements upon adoption of emergency regulations or by June 30, 2019.
Governor Jerry Brown must sign a final budget this month before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.
Early Edge California is a statewide advocacy and policy non-profit organization that advances quality early education so children can be happy, healthy, engaged learners by their first day of school and every day after. Since 2003, Early Edge has successfully advocated for groundbreaking early childhood policies, from creating transitional kindergarten to securing funding necessary to improve early learning programs. Learn more at: www.earlyedgecalifornia.or