CA Legislature approves budget supporting early education

Budget proposal includes additional investments of over $400 million for early childhood education

(Sacramento, CA)—This afternoon, the California State Assembly and Senate voted to approve a comprehensive budget proposal that includes $409 million in increased investments in early care and education programs, including more access for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, increased reimbursement rates for providers, and a quality improvement system for infants and toddlers. Members in both houses stood in strong support of these early learning investments, and the final vote was along party lines to support the budget act. Negotiations are likely to continue between the Legislature and Governor Brown to finalize a state budget package. 

AB 93, the Budget Act of 2015 provides $261 million in General Fund investments and $148 million in Proposition 98 funding for preschool and quality improvements. Under the proposal, the investments in access, rates, and quality would be phased in during the budget year. In 2016-17 and beyond, the annual increase would be $577 million. 

According to the Assembly Floor Report, the package could include: 

Access:

  • 5,000 full-day preschool and 10,000 part-day preschool spaces
  • 12,000 Alternative Payment Program spaces



Rates:

  • 10% increase in the part-day California State Preschool Program rate
  • 7.5% increase in the Standard Reimbursement Rate
  • Increasing the Regional Market Rate to the 70th percentile of the 2014 survey
  • Increasing the license-exempt percentage to 70% of the family child care rate

Quality:

  • $25 million in quality investments for infant and toddlers to participate in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) 

Additionally, the proposal increased the median income eligibility threshold to 80% of the State Median Income and would fund a consumer education database.

Statement from Deborah Kong, Early Edge California President: 

“Early Edge California applauds the Legislature for their steadfast commitment to early learning throughout this budget process. This budget proposal is a significant investment that will go a long way toward improving access to quality early childhood education for our infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, and supporting the caregivers who educate and care for our children.  

We urge Governor Brown to maintain the Legislature’s promise to our youngest learners and their families in our state. California has the opportunity to combat the achievement gap before it starts and give working families a fighting chance at participating in the recovering economy. As the economy improves, nothing is more important than investing in our future.”

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Early Edge California works to ensure all children have the early experiences necessary to be successful learners by the end of 3rd grade, setting them on a path to college and career readiness. For more information, visitwww.earlyedgecalifornia.org