Gov. Brown's revised budget restores California's early childhood education money

Lauren Cioffi/KPCC

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Funding for nearly 3,000 new preschool slots that would not have been created under Governor Jerry Brown's original 2017-18 budget proposal will be restored under the revised proposal released Thursday. 

In the revised proposal, Brown restored $500 million in funding for early childhood education and child care. He had cut those funds in his original budget plan in January.

Senator Holly Mitchell, chair of the Senate budget committee and a member of the Legislative Women's Caucus, said Thursday the restored funding is not just a win for kids and their parents, but for California employers.

"As a working mother myself, when my son was young and was in a safe, safe, affordable, high quality child care setting, that allowed me to be the best employee I could be," Mitchell said. 

Mitchell said bosses of the future also win when children have access to quality care and education during the critical preschool years.

"This is making sure that children enter school ready, that some who need a head start have one, so they can be the future U-C students and innovators that we in California need them to be, and the employers in California need for them to be," Mitchell added.

Early childhood education advocate Kim Patillo Brownson of First 5 LA is pleased the governor will follow through with his pledge to increase funding for early child care through the coming budget year, but said there is still more to be done.

"The most severe of the shortages continues to be for infants and toddlers," Patillo Brownson said. "Only about one in seven working parents with infants and toddlers have access to a licensed space, so it’s really important that we continue to build the drum beat about infant and toddler care, as well."

Senate Republican leader Patricia Bates didn’t address early childhood funding, but she opposed the revised budget overall. In a statement, she said the spending plan undermines Brown’s reputation for fiscal constraint and raises the threat of budget deficits.