Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements – California Budget & Policy Center

On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 state budget bill. This year’s budget agreement includes a number of improvements over earlier proposals, though the overall scope of state investments remains constrained by uncertainty about potential federal policy changes. The 2017-18 budget package:

  • Expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to well over 1 million additional families by expanding the credit to the self-employed and increasing the income eligibility limits.
  • Reflects an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders over how to spend Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for Medi-Cal, with this funding going to supplemental payments for Medi-Cal providers and also to covering ordinary spending growth in the program.

Source: First Look: Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements, Reflects Ongoing Uncertainty About Federal Commitments – California Budget & Policy Center

California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource

By Louis Freedberg and Susan Frey

Despite continuing efforts to expand learning time for young children, large numbers of low-income California children still lack access to full-day programs in state-supported preschool, according to a new EdSource report.

The report, titled “Expanding Early Learning Time: Accessing Full Day Preschool and Kindergarten in California,” points to compelling research that shows that attending high-quality, full-day preschool is associated with improved learning outcomes for students. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that full-day preschool attendance contributed to greater school readiness on four measures: social-emotional development, language development, math performance and physical health.

Source: California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource

Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Preschool is an important milestone in every person’s life. It is when children take their first steps into the world of education. However, it can be a lot of work just to get started. Thankfully, as they have in the past, the Benicia Moms Group will be hosting an Early Education Fair to let parents know what to expect. According to Brittainy Sapien, a vice president of administration for Benicia Moms Group, the group first hosted a Preschool Fair in 2013 under the guidance of member Ann Brooner. It was also held in 2014 and 2015 but was canceled in 2016 due to a lack of resources and intesrest. “When we did not host the fair in 2016, we had heard a lot of feedback that people had missed the fair, so we knew that it was an important thing to bring back to the community,” Sapien said. With the help of Benicia Unified School District and First 5 Solano, the Early Education Fair is back to provide information on preschool and kindergarten. Parents can have questions about preschool answered, meet with community resources and learn about activities and childcare for kids ages 5 and under. Benicia Unified representatives will also be on hand to talk about kindergarten preparedness.

Source: Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns

Children Eligible for Subsidized Child Care Did Not Receive It in 2015 – California Budget & Policy Center

By Kristin Schumacher

Parents with low- and moderate-incomes often struggle to stay afloat, balancing the soaring cost of child care against the high price of housing and other expenses. California’s subsidized child care and development programs, which are funded by both the state and federal governments, help many families make ends meet and allow them to avoid difficult choices about where to leave their children while at work. Yet, seven years after the end of the Great Recession, these programs as a whole continue to operate at below pre-recession levels, with inflation-adjusted funding well down from 2007-08 levels due to state budget cuts. This means that far fewer families with low and moderate incomes receive subsidized child care today than before the Great Recession began in 2007.

There is tremendous unmet need in California for subsidized child care. In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million children from birth through age 12 were eligible for care, according to a Budget Center analysis of federal survey data. However, only 218,000 children were enrolled in programs that could accommodate families for more than a couple of hours per day and throughout the entire year (see chart). Child care subsidies provide job stability and have been shown to increase parents’ earnings. Subsidies also allow families to afford higher-quality child care where their children can learn and grow. Boosting support for families struggling to afford child care is critical, especially given that the cost of child care and nursery school nationally has outpaced overall inflation since the end of the Great Recession. In California, more than two out of three families with children who are living in poverty include someone who is working. Yet, in 2015 the cost of child care for an infant and school-age child in a licensed center was equal to 99 percent of the annual income for a single mother and two children living at the federal poverty line ($19,096).

Source: Over 1.2 Million California Children Eligible for Subsidized Child Care Did Not Receive Services From State Programs in 2015 – California Budget & Policy Center

State could lose federal funds if rules for child care eligibility don’t change – EdSource

By Jeremy Hay

California risks losing more than $500 million in federal funds if it doesn’t establish new rules within a year governing eligibility for state-subsidized childcare and after-school programs. At least three attempts to accomplish that have died in the Legislature since 2014.

The state has until Sept. 30, 2017 to comply with a 2-year-old federal requirement to ensure that families qualifying for public childcare, preschool and after-school programs remain eligible for 12 months without having to re-establish eligibility during that time. The legislative window to pass a bill making that change has narrowed to one session, starting in January. Failing that, the change would have to occur through the state budget process.

Advocates and parents say the current rules often cause people to lose benefits over bureaucratic hurdles, when their job status changes or they receive even a minor wage increase.

Source: State could lose federal funds if rules for child care eligibility don’t change

California bill would change law governing eligibility period for subsidized child care | EdSource

By Jeremy Hay

California families who qualify for state-subsidized child care would be guaranteed eligibility for 12 months under a bill working its way through the state Legislature that would bring the state into compliance with federal requirements.

Under current state law, families in California’s publicly funded preschool and childcare programs for low-income children must re-establish their eligibility at least once every six months and any time there are changes to their employment situation, income or family size. Parents who work a variable schedule – one in which hours can change weekly – must re-establish their eligibility every four months. Childcare and family advocates have long urged legislators to change those requirements. There are about 270,000 children in the state-funded programs.

Source: California bill would change law governing eligibility period for subsidized child care | EdSource

District 2 hopefuls differ on children’s tax measure – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

An emotional Monica Brown questioned why there is even a need to pass additional taxes to support children’s services, but because she believes the need is great, she would support a proposal for a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

Her 2nd District opponent, Mike Ioakimedes, said he would likely support the initiative, but he called it another “Band-Aid measure,” and said real change will only come with an overhaul of the tax system.

“It is incomprehensible that in 2016 we have to take votes to take care of our kids,” said Brown, who broke down in tears when discussing the proposed Solano Fund for Children. “What kind of society are we that we don’t take care of our children?”

Source: District 2 hopefuls differ on children’s tax measure

County will help children’s group craft ballot measure – The Reporter

By Todd R. Hansen

The Board of Supervisors faced a full room of advocates imploring that it was time to invest in Solano’s children.

“Is there any reason you won’t support us?” the board was asked by four children in a rehearsed plea to support a ballot measure that, as proposed, would raise the sales tax 25 cents over the next 10 years.

Suisun City Vice Mayor Lori Wilson said the kind of services that the measure would support gave her hope and a chance at a productive life. In an emotional testimonial, she described a childhood of homelessness and abuse.

Source: County will help children’s group craft ballot measure

Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Advocates for expanding early childhood education and for better preparing low-income high school students for state universities wrested substantial money in the compromise state budget, announced Thursday, that legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have negotiated. The Legislature will vote next week on the $122 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Although less than they wanted, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus got a down payment on a half-billion dollar increase for child care and state-funded preschools over the next four years. By 2019-20, that will include ramping up to an additional 8,877 slots for full-day state preschool and increases in reimbursement rates for child-care providers to reflect increases in the state minimum wage. The first 2,969 preschool slots will open up in March 2017.

“This is going to be the biggest appropriation in a decade,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens,vice chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times, referring to the increased costs in future years. “We’re trying to be progressive and think about the future.”

Source: Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource

Child care service to move to Fairfield High School – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

The saga of the Fairfield-Suisun School District child care nursery, which is currently located at Sem Yeto High School, is over for the time being.

Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to move the service to Fairfield High School when Sem Yeto transitions over to that campus next school year while the former Dover site, its current location, is refurbished. The move is designed as a short-term situation.

The child care service, which district staff originally sought to eliminate, is a portion of two programs – the parenting program for parenting teens and the Career Technical Education Child Development program, which uses the nursery as a lab component.

via Child care service to move to Fairfield High School.

Board to consider options to maintain on-campus child care program – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

Members of the Fairfield-Suiusn School District governing board will consider plans Thursday to salvage the district’s child care service for teen parents and move it from Sem Yeto High School to Fairfield High School.

The child care agenda item is a return topic, ready for a vote from the school board.

School staff initially sought to end the child care service portion of two programs – the parenting program for parenting teens and the Career Technical Education Child Development program, which uses the nursery as a lab component. Board members overwhelmingly disagreed and sent staff back to the drawing board to find a way to keep the child care service viable for both programs.

via Board to consider options to maintain on-campus child care program.

District staff recommends keeping baby nursery initially targeted for elimination – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

Parenting students who use the district’s child care nursery in the Fairfield-Suisun School District could have a reprieve next year instead of facing the decision of what to do with their children while in school, or whether or not to even stay in school.

Governing board members, unsatisfied in March, sent district staff back to the drawing board because eliminating an at-school child care option for parenting teens wasn’t something they were prepared to do.

Satisfaction made members of the governing board smile Thursday as they heard from several members of a committee that formed to look at what could be done with the child care nursery, other than the prior proposed elimination when Sem Yeto moves to a wing of Fairfield High School next year.

via District staff recommends keeping baby nursery initially targeted for elimination Daily Republic.

Fairfield-Suisun school board to review child care nursery options – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

The child care nursery – a dual component of both the parenting program and the Childcare Career Technical Educational pathway at Sem Yeto High School – is back on the agenda Thursday at the Fairfield-Suisun School District board meeting after staff recommended at the March 26 meeting that it be discontinued to save money and reallocate human resources.

Board members told staff to come back with a plan for continuing the nursery next year, which serves as child care for student parents and a lab for the child care program students.

Sem Yeto is relocating to Fairfield High School next year and the district plans to close the Dover site for a year for repairs and possibly bring back a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school in 2016-17. Staff proposed to bring the child care program over to Fairfield High School, but not the nursery, and no solid plans for an alternative were forthcoming at the time.

via Fairfield-Suisun school board to review child care nursery options Daily Republic.

District looks to discontinue nursery service for parenting teens – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

Staff is looking for approval Thursday during the Fairfield-Suisun School District board meeting to relocate the Independent Study Program to the Sullivan Interagency Youth Services Center, move the Child Development Career Technical Education Pathway program to Fairfield High School and save some money by discontinuing the nursery/child care services associated with the child development program.

The Independent Study Program is currently located on the former Dover Middle School campus, along with Sem Yeto High School, and serves 53 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

via District looks to discontinue nursery service for parenting teens Daily Republic.

Child Care Block Grant Slated for Senate Passage – Education Week

By Lauren Camera

An update to the Child Care Development Block Grant program could be on President Barack Obama’s desk by the end of next week, if Congress holds to schedule.

The Senate will begin the process of taking up the measure on Thursday with final passage expected early next week, according to a Senate aide.

The measure, which has not been updated since 1996, would require states to conduct comprehensive background checks on child-care providers, something only about a dozen states call for now. It would also give parents more information about available child-care options, including faith-based and community-based providers, and allow parents to choose a program that best suits their family’s needs.

via Child Care Block Grant Slated for Senate Passage – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

U.S. Senate Approves Child Care Block Grant Bill – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

The Child Care and Development Block Grant program would get a makeover for the first time since the mid-1990’s, under a measure that sailed through the U.S. Senate amid much bipartisan backslapping and self-congratulation.

The Child Care bill, which passed 97 to 1, is one of the first bipartisan education measures to clear the chamber recently, giving some advocates hope that Congress may finally be able to tackle the lengthy logjam on education issues.

The CCDBG program was initially designed as a way to help low-income parents cover the cost of child care so that they could go to work or further their education. The Senate bill doesn’t seek to dramatically expand the scope of the program, but it would add a new focus on program quality and safety.

via U.S. Senate Approves Child Care Block Grant Bill – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Business, military signal strong support for public preschool, but Republican lawmakers unswayed | EdSource Today

By 

Early childhood education advocates are working to make it clear that not everyone supporting President Barack Obama’s proposal to vastly expand federal funding for preschool and infant and toddler care is a tax-and-spend liberal.

“This has become a bipartisan issue in the real world,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said recently in a sound bite that has become standard language in his stump speech for the president’s proposal to invest $75 billion over the next decade for states wishing to create or expand public preschool for 4-year-olds and early care for infants and toddlers.

Business, military signal strong support for public preschool, but Republican lawmakers unswayed | EdSource Today.

EdSource Today: Early childhood advocates cheered by $55M in restored funding

By 

Child care and early education advocates were pleased to see $55 million restored for state preschool and child care programs in the budget compromise working its way to the governor’s desk.

“It’s a start,” said Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who has pushed for several measures aimed at expanding and improving early childhood programs in the state. “We’re not doing as much as we hoped, but we are beginning to see dollars directed back into preschool and early child care.”

Early childhood advocates cheered by $55M in restored funding | EdSource Today.

EdSource Today: Early education advocates disappointed with governor’s revised budget

By 

Early education advocates in California were hoping for increases in preschool and child care funding in the governor’s revised budget, released Tuesday. No such luck.

“The governor talks a lot about educational equity and equality of opportunity,” said Scott Moore, policy analyst for the early education advocacy group Early Edge California. “He is really missing the boat when it comes to preschool.”

via Early education advocates disappointed with governor’s revised budget – by Lillian Mongeau.