The state budget passed late Sunday by the legislature includes the most significant bump to early childhood programs in a decade. Lawmakers approved $268 million for expanding preschool access and improving quality of programs.
- Expansion of State Preschool seats by 11,500 this year with the intent in future years to add as many as 43,000 slots for 4 year-olds from low-income families.
- $69 million to increase reimbursement rates for early childhood programs that receive state funding and serve 0-5 years. This pot of money will be divided to increase reimbursement rates in two ways:
- The statewide reimbursement rate for providers will increase 5 percent. Currently childcare centers contracted by the state to run early education programs (mostly state preschools) are reimbursed $34.38 per child per full-day. This would increase to roughly $36.10 per day, per child. Part-day rates will also rise 5 percent from $21.22 to approximately $22.28.
- For private childcare providers who who receive state subsidies through agencies or vouchers to serve low-income children, that rate will increase about 9 percent. That number varies by region and hadn't increased since 2005.
- Transitional Kindergarten lead teachers will be required to have a child development permit or at least 24 units of early childhood education classes by 2020. "Transitional kindergarten" curriculum would be aligned to standards, called the "California preschool learning foundations" under this spending bill.
- A $35 million pool of grants will be spent on teacher training and facility upgrades for one year only.
- Another $50 million in on-going grants would fund other quality improvements to California state preschools.