SACRAMENTO, CA – Early Learning advocacy organization Early Edge California applauds Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature for their commitment to children and families, caregivers, and teachers by making key investments in Early Learning and Care as part of the final State Budget for 2022-23. The Governor and the California Legislature reached a final agreement this week that will dedicate funds to expanding California State Preschool Program supports for children with disabilities and Dual Language Learners. It also fulfills commitments made in the 2021-22 Budget by funding the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten (TK), making preschool free for all 4-year-olds, lowering student-teacher TK ratios to 12:1, and increasing slots and reimbursement rates for child care providers.
The budget agreement will also provide critical funding to support children, working families, and educators in the following ways:
- Waives family fees for the 2022-23 fiscal year, making state subsidized child care and preschool more affordable and accessible to low-income families.
- Extends the State Preschool Funding Hold Harmless for 2022-23, allowing State Preschool contractors to receive full funding allocated regardless of student attendance.
- Expands eligibility to the State Preschool Program by guaranteeing 24-months of Early Learning and care to all 3- and 4-year-old children with exceptional needs and expanding eligibility to all families with incomes at the state median, and increases provider rates for 3-year-olds, children with exceptional needs, DLLs, and supporting early mental health.
- Makes critical investments and policy changes to support the growth of the TK workforce. This includes increasing the capacity of teacher residency programs, and authorizing and incentivizing the development of a 4- or 5-year integrated childhood education specialist credential and baccalaureate degree programs at the California State University and partnering institutions of higher education.
- $300 Million for the California Prekindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant Program to support Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) with the goal of expanding access to classroom-based Prekindergarten programs.
- $18.3 Million to establish the California Universal Preschool Planning Grant Program, which will help expand access universally to preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-old children across the state through a mixed-delivery system.
- $250 Million for the Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program to support LEAs in developing inclusive practices and programs in Early Learning programs.
“We appreciate the efforts of state leaders to strengthen Early Learning and Care in California. The state’s historic commitment to Universal Preschool for all 4-year-olds will put us in the lead with the largest preschool program in the nation. Governor Newsom and legislative leaders continue to stand by working families and educators on the long road to recovery from the pandemic and during this challenging period of inflation and recession by presenting a holistic budget that supports advancements in learning and child care, as well as areas such as inflation relief and medical coverage for low and middle income Californians,” said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director of Early Edge California.
We thank Governor Newsom and the California Legislature for uniting around a final budget that prioritizes our state’s youngest learners and the adults who support them. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Newsom, his Administration, and the Legislature to increase investments in Early Learning and Care. This includes supporting child care providers and the Early Learning workforce through higher wages and better benefits and the creation of accessible career pipelines that meet their needs as well as helping families by easing administrative burdens through expanding categorical eligibility for state subsidized programs.
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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.