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Would Steinberg’s scaled back universal pre-K plan get the funding it needs?




Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers on Tuesday afternoon in the center's large outdoor space.
Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers on Tuesday afternoon in the center's large outdoor space.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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The $2.5 billion plan to offer free preschool to all 4-year-olds in California has been drastically changed to cover only those children whose families make less than twice the federal poverty level, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Senator Darrell Steinberg, who is leaving office at the end of this year, has been at the forefront of this bill in California. If implemented, the program will cost the state $1.3 billion in comparison to the original plan of $2.5 billion.

The idea of a universal pre-k is becoming popular in other states in the country. Originally, the bill called for preschool education for children of all ages, but was changed due to the negotiations of the state budget.

Is a scaled-back plan a good idea for California? Should the plan be inclusive of all children, regardless of income? Will Steinberg’s plan be approved by the governor?

Guest:

Chris Megerian, Sacramento reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He covers state politics and the budget.