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2014 News and Bulletins
Governor Signs $156.3 billion Budget Early; No Child Care Vetoes
You know by now that Governor Brown signed the state budget into law last Friday. He announced a relatively small number of line item vetoes to the $156.3 billion spending plan, many of which his office described as technical. There were no Child Care line vetoes.
"This on-time budget provides for today and saves for the future," Brown, who traveled to San Diego to sign the budget document, said in a prepared statement. "We're paying off the state's credit card, saving for the next rainy day and fixing the broken teachers' retirement system."
The budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is a compromise plan between Brown and Democratic lawmakers. It includes an expansion of child care and preschool for low-income children and more money for high-speed rail, Medi-Cal and welfare-to-work. It also puts about $1.6 billion into a special rainy-day account.
For Brown, the budget represents a dramatic improvement from four years ago, when the state faced a deficit of more than $26 billion. With the economy improving and the passage of the sales tax measure, however, Brown's last two budget negotiations have proved relatively frictionless.
The budget Brown signed last Friday was the earliest on record going back nearly 30 years.
Source: The Sacramento Bee
Here’s what the Governor’s signing statement said:
Child Care and State Preschool
Subsidized Child Care includes a variety of programs designed to support low‑income families so they may remain gainfully employed. These programs are primarily administered by the State Department of Education. Additionally, the State Preschool program is designed as an educational program to help ensure children develop the skills needed for success in school.
- Child Care and State Preschool Slots — The Budget includes $57 million General Fund and $30 million Proposition 98 General Fund for 500 slots for the Alternative Payment program, 1,000 slots for General Child Care, 7,500 part‑day State Preschool slots, and 7,500 part‑day wrap around care slots. The Budget also specifies that an additional 4,000 part‑day State Preschool slots and 4,000 part‑day wrap around care slots will be provided in 2015‑16.
- Provider Rates and State Preschool Fees — The Budget includes $24 million General Fund and $25 million Proposition 98 General Fund to increase the standard reimbursement rate for state contracted providers by 5 percent, effective July 1, 2014, and $19 million General Fund to update the regional market rate for voucher‑based providers, effective January 1, 2015. The Budget also repeals part‑day State Preschool family fees and backfills them with $15 million Proposition 98 General Fund.
Budget trailer bills SB 855 (Human Services) and SB 858 (Education) were also signed (Chapter 29 and Chapter 32, respectively).
As to specifics, here’s what the Senate Pro Tem’s press release said about the ECE Budget deal:
Starting in the 2014-15 budget year with a $264 million investment, California will eventually offer 234,000 low-income 4-year-olds access to high-quality pre-kindergarten at full implementation in future years, representing nearly half of all 4-year-olds in the state. Those 4-year-old children with at least one working parent from low-income families will be eligible for full-day pre-kindergarten and 77,000 are expected to take advantage of that full-day opportunity. California’s budget will also fund improved quality in the state’s early childhood education programs.
The budget includes four complementary components that strengthen existing infrastructure and prepare California’s preschool system to provide access for all low-income 4-year-olds which, in combination, will eventually offer 234,000 low-income 4-year-olds access to high-quality pre-kindergarten at full implementation. They are:
1. Expanding California State Preschool (FY 2014-15: $85 million in additional investment) There are currently more than 102,000 4-year-olds from low-income families in California State Preschool. The budget commits to 43,000 full day new preschool opportunities for low-income children, phased in over multiple years. The commitment begins with a $70 million provision for 11,500 new, full-day and full-year preschool slots for low-income 4-year-olds from working families by the end of the budget year. An additional 31,500 positions will be budgeted in out-years to reach the agreement to provide pre-Kindergarten opportunities for all low-income 4-year-olds.
This expansion enables parents to work and know that their children are in quality care that contributes positively to all aspects of their development. The budget also repeals the existing fee for the part-day California State preschool program, saving those low-income families $15 million.
2. Improving Transitional Kindergarten (FY 2014-15: within existing resources) To utilize Transitional Kindergarten as an important source of pre-kindergarten opportunity for low-income 4-year olds, quality standards for Transitional Kindergarten (currently available to one quarter – or more than 86,000 – of the state’s 4-year-olds) will be enhanced to support developmentally appropriate instruction for 4-year-olds that is distinct from regular kindergarten.
These new quality standards include specific state guidance on curriculum (California Preschool Learning Foundations) and early childhood education credits and or work experience requirements for newly placed Transitional Kindergarten teachers, beginning in 2015-16. These newly-placed teachers will have until the 2020 school year to meet education and work experience requirements.
3. Enhancing Preschool Quality & Infrastructure (FY 2014-15: $85 million)
The budget establishes an ongoing $50 million annual grant to support quality improvements in California State Preschool at the local level. This Early Learning Quality Rating and Improvement System block grant will support preschool providers that meet the high quality targets and provide incentives for those striving to meet them.
To build capacity and prepare preschool providers to deliver higher standard services, the budget includes $35 million in one-time funds for professional development, state preschool quality projects, and preschool facility loans.
4. Restoring Rates, Childcare and Early Start (FY 2014-15: $94 million) The budget includes $69 million in increases to reimbursement rates for all early learning and childcare programs (ages 0-5), which will help raise preschool quality. The budget includes $17 million to restore 1,500 slots for other childcare programs.
The Budget Act appropriates $8 million this fiscal year to restore Early Start services to infants and toddlers with substantial disabilities back to pre-2009 budget cut levels, and removes onerous criteria that had to be met for infants and toddlers to qualify for services.
California Members of Congress Praise Budget Pre-K Investment
Several members of Congress were present at the Budget signing ceremony in San Diego. Most complemented the Legislature and the Governor for the commitment to and investment in Early Education. Here are some of their comments:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – “California’s commitment to working families continues to set an example for the rest of the country,” she said. “I’m proud the state budget invests in early childhood education, which is essential to ensuring a bright future for our children and unleashing the power of women. As California makes progress, House Democrats in Washington are also fighting for access to quality, affordable child care with an economic agenda for women and families, ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds.’”
Congressman George Miller (CA-11), the Senior Democratic member serving on the House’s Education and the Workforce Standing Committee – "California’s budget agreement to add resources for quality preschool is a critical step forward in improving children’s lives now and long into the future,” he said. “The State legislators’ wise decision to invest in early education in order to improve quality, access, and related infrastructure will pay huge dividends for California.”
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation – “I applaud Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Governor Brown for their leadership in passing a Budget that expands early-learning opportunities for low-income children in California. Funding early education is an important opportunity we can give children and a priority for the California Democratic Congressional Delegation. Once fully implemented, this landmark accomplishment will offer 234,000 low-income 4-year-olds, which is nearly half of all 4-year-olds in California, access to high-quality pre-kindergarten learning opportunities. The studies are clear—high-quality early education programs increase high school graduation rates and college attendance, and also decrease crime. This initiative will build a stronger economy and middle class to help America compete in a global market, and give all Americans a better opportunity to succeed in life. Your efforts have ensured that early education remains a priority in California for many years to come.”
Congresswoman Julia Brownley (CA-26) – “Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders; as a nation we have a responsibility to provide every child with a high-quality education that enables them to achieve their goals. I am so pleased that the State of California has increased its commitment to early education and development, which is integral to every child having the opportunity to succeed in school and in life. As a former school board member and Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Education, I will continue to work in the United States Congress to support early childhood education, including programs like Head Start and Early Head Start.”
Congressman John Garamendi (CA-3) – “In fundamental ways, the potential of our society is linked directly to the educational efforts geared at the early childhood experiences of each individual. With this landmark budget agreement, we make a unified commitment to fill the first five years of every child’s life with learning, enrichment, and imagination. There is no greater investment than the one we make in our children and no resource more precious than the promise we see in them. I applaud the California legislature for taking this important step toward ensuring that every child has a strong foundation of early learning, upon which an engaged, successful, and happy life can be built.”
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17) – “I applaud the work of the California Legislature, Senate President Pro Tempore Steinberg, and Governor Brown for continuing the work of ensuring that each and every child has access to a high-quality, early childhood education. The Equity and Excellence Commission, which I helped form, found that Universal prekindergarten is one of the essential components in developing an equitable and excellent education system for all. Ensuring that all children have access to education shows that the State of California is committed to addressing systemic inequities, investing in our future, and ensuring that every child has the chance to be safe, secure, and successful in life. Education is the current generation’s investment in future success.”
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) – “This is one of the most important education reforms California could implement, and as its major advocate, it is only fitting and appropriate that it should happen under Sen. Steinberg's leadership. His legacy will be generations of children that will be better ready for every step of their educational future and better able to lead California into the future.”
Congresswoman Linda Sánchez (CA-38) – “As a mother of a young 5-year old, I understand the importance of investing in early childhood education. The academic achievement gap starts at a very young age and having a preschool system that is inclusive of all 4-year olds, regardless of their families financial status, is crucial for our students’ long-term educational success. Furthermore, these funds assure agencies will continue to implement high-quality prekindergarten programs geared towards children from low-income and immigrant families, such as the Early Start and Head Start programs. When I was a child, Head Start helped me start school at the same educational level as my peers, even though I was raised speaking a different language and of a modest background. This agreement helps support these types of programs so that they have teachers with high qualifications, small classes, and strong family engagement programs. I commend leaders of the Legislature for taking our shared commitment of improving early childhood education and turning it into action.”
Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-5) – “Early childhood education is the foundation for a lifetime of learning, and it should be available to anyone regardless of where they live or how much money their parents make. I applaud Governor Brown and the California legislature for making pre-kindergarten education a top priority, and for expanding greater educational opportunities to children across our state.”
Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) – “I am pleased to see Governor Jerry Brown sign a budget that includes funding and a long-term commitment to providing pre-Kindergarten opportunities for all low-income 4-year-olds in California. The children of my district, and across California, will finally have access to the quality early education they deserve, regardless of their family’s income. This action will give parents the confidence to head to work, without reservations, knowing that their children will be receiving quality care that will contribute to all aspects of their development and prepare them for future academic success.”
Budget Project’s Chief on the New Preschool Budget Agreement: "Only a Very Small Step Toward Much-Needed Reinvestment"
The California Budget Project (CBP), a nonpartisan public policy research group, released the following statement from its Executive Director Chris Hoene on Child Care and Preschool in the new Budget:
"The budget agreement announced by the Governor and legislative leaders moves our state only a very small step toward much-needed reinvestment in California's families and communities.
"The increased funding for state preschool is important and will help expand early learning opportunities for low-income children and mitigate the harmful effects of poverty. But beyond this, the budget deal includes no significant new support for many core public services and systems that were hit hard by years of cuts, such as child care slots, higher education, and safety-net services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. The budget deal also leaves in place deep cuts to health services for low-income Californians, such as a sharp reduction in payments for doctors and other providers who participate in Medi-Cal.
"Providing sufficient funding for key state services is always critical, but it's especially so with poverty and long-term unemployment still so high. Given the need to help more individuals and families share in California's economic recovery, it's disappointing that this budget agreement fails to strike the right balance among paying down debt, saving for a rainy day, and boosting support for core public systems and services, and that it also falls short of laying out a clear vision for investing in our state's future."
The CBP will release additional commentary and analysis on the new budget in the coming days.
Early Learning Advisory Council Hears about ECE Budget Investments, Takes Public Testimony
This Tuesday, the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care (SAC) met in Sacramento for a briefing on the recently-passed State Budget, pending ECE legislation, and proposed revisions of federal regulations for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). I took some notes, and will share the “they-may-not-know-that” items as bullets below.
New State Budget
The new FY2014-15 Budget was briefed by Jessica Holmes of the Department of Finance. Here are some Budget bullets:
- Total: The Child Care, Preschool, and TK augmentation totaled $256 million ($155M of which is Prop 98 dollars).
- RMR: It is raised (effective January 1, 2015) to the 85th percentile of the 2009 market survey, discounted by 13%. Advocates in the room said that small, rural county providers, and most exempt providers and family child care homes won’t benefit. The DOF said that there is a hold harmless clause which provides that, if current rates (2005) are higher than the new rate, the provider can still get the old RMR. (Won’t be reduced as a result of this change).
- SRR: A San Diego provider said – while appreciated – the 5% increase is woefully inadequate. “If I gave 100% of the increase to my teachers (which I will do), each teacher would get a 33 cent increase. I can’t fund raises or health benefits.” CDE Director Debra McMannis said, “We agree that rates are not where they need to be and we’ll be working on this going forward.”
- Local Quality block grants: This new Quality initiative will be funded by on-going Prop 98 dollars. It is only for CSPP providers. Members of the audience expressed concern that counties which had not yet developed a QRIS system will not benefit. Holmes pointed out that the 20% set-aside could be used for assessment and to bring other providers on board. The San Diego provider said, “It’s time to open QRIS to all providers of quality preschool not just CSPP centers.”
- Facilities: The $10 million for facilities renovation and repair is open to all CDE preschool contractors. The new trailer bill added to the Revolving Fund but eliminated the existing facilities grant.
- TK teacher standards: The expressed goal is to have all TK teachers to possess 24 units, an ECE permit, or comparable experience by August 1, 2020. All new hires, after 2015, must have one of these. “We don’t want just any teacher teaching these classes,” said Holmes. However, (1) existing TK teachers are “grandfathered in” and (2) school districts will have discretion on what meets the qualifying criteria going forward. (ED. NOTE: The new SB 837 would prioritize TK teachers (over CSPP teachers) for the $15 million for professional development and training. Why, if all current TK teachers are grandfathered and any new ones can get a local standards pass?)
Higher Ed representatives in the room noted that the 24 units are not specified. “You could get 24 units and never take a Child Development course,” said one professor in the audience. “The language is broad,” admitted Holmes. Said Director McMannis: “This is a good start; a great opportunity. We need to convene on next steps, e.g., curriculum, permits, etc.”
Whitney Staniford of the CDE’s Governmental Affairs unit presented on some of the bills that are still moving through the final months of the session. She primarily outlined the SPI-sponsored/supported measures.
- SB 837 (Steinberg) (as now amended) – Narrowed to teacher preparation. It details priorities for $25 million provider in the Budget. These are one-time funds and will be available over the next three years. The details are “still to be fleshed out,” e.g., Will these be AB 212-type stipends or something new? Approximately $10 M is for “other professional opportunities” … “It’s very open-ended.” (ED. NOTE: SB 837 passed out of the Assembly Education Committee yesterday.)
- AB 2111 (Cal-SAFE) – This bill was held by the Appropriations Committee. “We are looking at our options about ways to save Cal-SAFE and keep protective standards.”
- SB 1123 (Liu) – “This is a very ambitious bill, covering Infant-Toddler things which didn’t happen in the Budget.” Home Visitation and Parental Inclusion are covered “if funded in the Budget” (which they weren’t). Infant-Toddler rates were stripped out of the bill. “We will go back to try and fund I/T services.” (ED. NOTE: SB 1123 passed out of the Assembly Education Committee yesterday.)
- SB 192 (Liu) – This is also an ambitious bill to re-brand the early learning system. The Senator wants to apply new technology, getting away from “baby sitting.” The bill would streamline and consolidate contracts, and would provide updated definitions. “We, however, do not want unintended consequences.” (ED. NOTE: SB 192 passed out of the Assembly Education Committee yesterday.)
- AB 2125 (Ridley-Thomas) – This is an effort to establish a single rate system of reimbursement (combining the SRR and RMR). “We are providing technical assistance. This is a step toward QRIS reimbursement.”
CCDF regulations revision
Director McMannis reported on the pending federal revisions of the CCDF regulations. The changes – due in September – could have a significant impact in California.
- The fed’s four goals for the regulations changes: (1) Strengthen Health and Safety for children, (2) Improve Quality, (3) Create family-friendly services, and (4) Strengthen program integrity.
- California gets $537,076,320 in CCDF funds while providing $85,593,217 in state Maintenance of Effort (MOE) dollars and $210,738,255 in state matching funds.
- Relative to Licensing, there will be increased unannounced monitoring (no longer relying on self-certification) of family child care providers, and website posting of provider-specific information to inform parents making placement decisions. The CCL will be having stakeholder meetings to improve the Beta of the new website it just launched. (Please see related article below)
- Relative and in-home care would be exempted from unannounced visits. The CDE would have to conduct the visits of the other license-exempt providers because CCL only inspects licensed facilities.
- Some other changes may be coming for license-exempt providers, especially non-relative and neighbor care.
- The feds say that states will not be given any new funds to implement the regulation changes. “You can serve fewer children,” they have said publicly.
SB 837 Amended to Provide Teacher Professional Development
Given the major victory of the Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in the new State Budget, his controversial SB 837 can be used for a different purpose. It now focuses on the professional development of ECE teachers. The bill now specifies uses of the funds appropriated in the Budget Act of 2014 for professional development of transitional kindergarten (TK) and preschool teachers. Specifically, the bill:
1) Specifies that of the moneys appropriated, the sum of $15 million shall be allocated to the California Department of Education (CDE) to be used to fund professional development for teachers. Requires the funds to be allocated as follows:
a) First priority for professional development for TK teachers. Professional development shall include, but shall not be limited to, all of the following: (i) stipends for teachers to complete at least 24 units in early childhood education (ECE) or childhood development, or a combination of both, and (ii) strengthening teacher knowledge of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, developed by the CDE.
b) Second priority shall be for professional development for teachers in the California State Preschool Program (CSPP).
2) Specifies that for the moneys appropriated, the sum of $10 million shall be allocated to the CDE to be used for other professional development projects, excluding those specified above, for TK and CSPP program teachers, as determined by the CDE.
3) Requires the CDE to consult with the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California Children and Families Commission, school administrators, and teachers in administering the provisions of the bill.
California Puts Some--But Not All--Day Care Records Online
California has finally started to catch up with most states (like Texas) by putting information from child care inspections online. Last Friday, the Department of Social Services released a tool called the Community Care Licensing Division Facility Search. Up until now, there was no way for a parent to go online and find out what the state knows about their child's day care.
California's Community Care Licensing Division is the government office that regulates, licenses and inspects child care facilities. But the agency doesn't put any of its findings online. To actually see an inspection report, a parent would have to visit a field office. In collaboration between NBC Bay Area and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), reporters noted that in 2006 the state auditor said "calling or visiting such a little-known office is too high a barrier for busy parents of young children." This year, NBC Bay Area and CIR took it on themselves to collect and post publically available inspections reports for child care facilities in the Bay. Now, five years of data is available via the state's website, but there's still a lot missing.
Source: NBC Bay Area
Child Care Issues Move to Political Forefront As Both Parties Position for Midterm Elections
Paid leave and access to child care are surging to the top of the nation’s political debate as Democrats and Republicans seek to win votes and advance policies to address the economic struggles of families trying to raise children and hold jobs. A high-profile White House “working families” summit this week focuses on issues such as child care, paid family leave and equal pay between men and women. Politicians in both parties are also rolling out new work flexibility and child-care legislation amid predictions that such issues will be prominent in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential campaigns.
Paid leave and child care are emerging as centerpiece issues for many Democrats, part of their broader attempt to portray Republicans as hostile to issues important to women. Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing for additional tax breaks for working parents and other family-friendly proposals in hopes of attracting support from independents and Democrats.
Source: Washington Post
Notice: This is a report on California politics, a very dynamic, fluid circumstance at best. Information contained herein is our best effort to be both timely and accurate, but things change. Readers are cautioned to investigate the conditions and facts themselves before acting upon any information presented here.
The Child Development Policy Institute - Education, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to help establish sound public policy that benefits the children of California, is providing access to its website and managing subscriptions this publication.The opinions expressed in herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Child Development Policy Institute - Education or its individual board members.