Sacramento, Ca – California Fair Share today praised state lawmakers for passage of a budget that significantly boosts funding for early childhood education as well as early childcare. More than 50 public school superintendents, school board members and trustees joined California Fair Share in calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign the budget legislation as a sound investment in the state’s future.
“Expanding access to early childhood education ensures that all children get a strong start in school and a fair shot in life,” said Jason Pfeifle, California Fair Share state director.
The budget bill funds 43,000 new, full-day preschool slots, which will be phased in over multiple years, including 11,500 slots which will be available in the upcoming school year. It also invests $85 million to enhance preschool quality and infrastructure, and invests $86 million in early childcare education.
Education officials joined California Fair Share in welcoming the budget, which does not make up for previous cuts in recent years, but is nonetheless a significantstep forward. In the days leading up to Sunday’s vote, California Fair Share gathered the signatures of 58 public school officials who in a letter delivered to Gov. Brown favored the increased funding.
“Early education is a great equalizer for student success in school and life,” said Dr. Rupi Boyd, Superintendent of Soledad Unified School District and one of the signees of California Fair Share’s letter to Gov. Brown.”Providing all students access to early education is essential to level the playing field.”
Micah Ali, school board president of Compton Unified School District and also an expert in early learning, called the budget agreement “the first serious step that the state has taken in half a decade to counteract the elimination of over 100,000 slots and a billion dollars in lost funding.”
“In communities like Compton, and across the entire state, there is no more effective investment in our children and state than Early Childhood Education,” Ali added. “By enabling children to maximize their academic and lifetime achievement, we’re helping them develop into an elite, world-class workforce, grown and raised right here in California.”
Ann Crosbie, Fremont Unified School District trustee, said, “With a 600 percent return on our investment, it makes financial sense to invest in early childhood education. The bonus is that we are doing what is right for our children.”
California Fair Share is a grassroots organizing group working to promote economic fairness and opportunity for all. By making the case for sensible policy solutions and amplifying the voices of citizens, California Fair Share works to provide everyone with a quality education, afair shot at a good job, and a strong voice in our democracy. Find out more at www.fairshareonline.org.