Budget Update: Progress in Sacramento on Child Care

May 26, 2017

Assembly and Senate Budget Committees Approve ECE Packages

Both the Assembly Budget Committee and the full Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review voted to include $20 million in funding in their early childhood education packages to bring family guidelines for affordable child care up-to-date.  With identical dollar allocations and proposals, this priority to protect working families is moving forward in the budget.

On May 25, 2017 the Assembly Budget Committee passed an Early Childhood Education (ECE) package that:

  • Allocates $20 million to update the outdated income eligibility requirements, including raising to 70% of current State Median Income (SMI), allowing parents to remain eligible up to 85% of current SMI, and provide for 12 month eligibility
  • Allocates $30 million in general funds for an additional 2,710 slots, divided between APP and General Child Care slots
  • Allocates $30 million in Proposition 98 funding for an additional 2,624 full-day California State Preschool slots
  • Adopts a hybrid of components of the Governor’s proposal to exempt LEA-administered preschools from the safety and health protections of Title 22
  • Approves the Governor’s restoration of $116 million in child care and preschool funding from last year’s budget agreement

On May 23, 2017, the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review also voted unanimously for an ECE package with:

  • $20 million to fund the update of SMI and 12 month continuous eligibility.

The Senate and the Assembly took different approaches to Governor Brown’s proposal to exempt preschools run by school districts from Title 22 health and safety requirements.

  • The Assembly voted to keep the licensing requirements, but exempt newly opening preschools from initial inspection in order to expedite the process. It also raised the staffing ratios for state preschools administered by Local Education Agencies (LEAs) from 8:1 to 12:1, but only for four-year-olds.
  • The Senate voted to exempt LEA- run preschools from Title 22 starting in 2018-19 with a stakeholder process to work out implementation, but did not change the current staffing ratios.

In other child care issues, both the full Senate Budget Committee and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee voted to:

  • Allow state preschools to serve children with exceptional needs whose families are over income, after all income eligible, interested children are served
  • Allow child care providers to use electronic applications
  • Align the definition of homelessness with the federal McKinney-Vento Act

And to adopt:

  • $100 million additional funding for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program to raise the reimbursement rate from $7.50 to $9 per child/day.
  • Annual funding of $31 for an emergency child care bridge program for children in foster care.  The Assembly version has lower first year costs ($10 million) due to delayed implementation in the first year.

The fact that both houses included $20 million to update eligibility almost surely means that it will be in the final budget that the California Legislature sends to the Governor.

After the Assembly Committee on Budget meets Thursday, the next step is for a conference committee (made up of 3 members from each house) to address the differences between the two budgets. Items on which they agree are not usually revisited.

Read the full details of the Assembly’s Early Childhood Education package here, Issue 2 pp. 29-31, and the Senate’s proposal here, Issue 17 pp. 20-22.