California Budget Includes Funds For Pre-K

The Los Angeles Times (6/16, Megerian, Mason) reports that the California Legislature “approved a $156.4-billion state budget on Sunday,” for the fiscal year starting July 1. Among other things, “it funds preschool for children from poor families, increases welfare grants and continues expanding public healthcare under President Obama’s federal overhaul.”

        The Sacramento (CA) Bee (6/16, Siders, White) notes that the budget will start to “pay down an estimated shortfall of more than $74 billion in the teachers’ pension fund,” and “includes $264 million for new children’s programs, including 11,500 preschool slots for low-income 4-year-olds by June 2015 and another 31,500 slots in future years.”

        The San Jose (CA) Mercury News (6/15, Richman) reported on a series of ballot measures which will determine how the funds are spent.

        California Lawmakers Strike Compromise On Pre-K Expansion. The Washington Post (6/13, Wilson) reported in its “Govbeat” blog on a legislative compromise in California that, if approved, would give “hundreds of thousands of low-income children...access to pre-school education.” The agreement was announced Thursday and was expected to go before the full state Senate and Assembly in a full budget proposal by Sunday. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has not said whether he will sign it or veto the overall budget, but he has line-item veto power as well. The proposal “would provide hundreds of millions of dollars to offer preschool access to 234,000 low-income four-year olds.” The Post says legislators settled on $85 million for fiscal 2014-15 while “another $85 million would go toward improving pre-school quality, including $50 million in grants to local school districts and $35 million in one-time funding for professional development for teachers.”