Pre-K expansion is on the way this budget season – POLITICO

UNIVERSAL PRE-K: A bid to provide free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-old Californians has had a nearly frictionless path through the state house. But as a season of intra-party budget haggling descends on Sacramento, it’s likely to get tougher.

State Senator Connie Leyva, who introduced Senate Bill 976, wants to remove requirements that students must be low-income or otherwise disadvantaged to enroll in free public preschool, and allow community childcare providers like home daycares to dip into the funds of State.

The Chino Democrat proposal is there, however, as the June 15 deadline to pass a state budget looms. If its annual cost—estimated in the hundreds of millions to billions—is not factored in when legislative leaders and the governor’s office strike a deal, SB 976’s progress through two committees and the Senate floor will be rendered irrelevant.

This is because an amendment Leyva made to the bill would make pre-K expansion contingent on state funding.

Leyva says her universal preschool proposal will be:

  • Stabilize a childcare industry that Leyva says is “on the brink of collapse,” in part by ensuring that state-subsidized childcare workers earn more than minimum wage – a requirement set out in the bill.
  • Allow working parents to drop their children off at daycare early and pick them up late, an option they don’t have in part-time transitional kindergarten programs offered across the state.
  • Expand access to child care and early education overall, waiving fees for state pre-K programs and allow all children to participate, regardless of family income.

His bill could compete with a wide range proposals for some of the state’s record budget surplus, including others in the field of preschool education.

SB 70, State Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), for example, would require all California students to attend kindergarten, which would increase school operating costs.

And that’s not to mention the $8 billionGovernor Gavin Newsom wants to send public schools through one-time grants.

Most negotiationswill take place behind closed doorshowever, leaving the fate of the expanded pre-K, and so many other budget demands, in limbo.

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POWER STRUGGLE: Assembly Democrats were embroiled in a fight over public speaking this afternoon – days after the Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister)( had secured majority caucus commitments to become the next leader of the Assembly. He reported to the current leader, the Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendonwho has yet to comment publicly.

The dispute spilled onto the floor of the Assembly on Tuesday as Rendon and Rivas loyalists clashed in a vote on whether to hold a private conference on the floor. By 3 p.m., Democrats had been caucusing for about an hour. Applause erupted audibly twice near the start. —Jeremy B. White

CHILD ABUSE CHECK: The state’s Child Abuse Central Index is meant to be a comprehensive database of proven cases of child abuse in California. But it’s so inaccurate and incomplete that it can leave children at risk, according to damning audit report released today. The report found that the database did not contain about half of the child abuse cases – more than 27,000 – reported by county child protective agencies from July 2017 to June 2021. Additionally, he said, the index inappropriately contained unsubstantiated reports of abuse.

A major cause of errors? Poor communication between county staff and lack of follow-up from the Department of Justice, the auditor found.

People ‘cannot depend on the database to protect children when making decisions about whether to hire people to work in child care centers or group homes, or to whom they can entrust care or custody of a child,” the acting state auditor said. Michael Tilden wrote in a letter to the governor and legislative leaders. The report calls on the state to give the DOJ direct access to the system counties use to record the results of their child abuse investigations, among other proposed solutions. —Victoria Colliver

FIREFIGHTER SHORTAGE INVOICE: California doesn’t have enough firefighters, Sen says. Mike McGuire has a proposal to address this shortage as the state enters the worst of what has become a year-round fire season.

McGuire’s Senate Bill 1062 would require the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to maintain a minimum complement of three firefighters per engine, which McGuire says is equivalent to adding 356 firefighters to the ranks of the California Department of Forestry. forests and fire protection. SB 1062 would also fund 16 new supply crews, made up of 768 firefighters, and require Cal Fire to produce a long-term staffing plan.

California has historically relied on inmates to fill staffing shortages, but even that practice is strained: According to SB 1062 legislative findings, the state’s inmate fire camp program grew from 4,200 detained ten years ago to just over 1,400 last year. —Colby Bermel

Democrats dominate tug of war in race for California insurance commissionerby LATimes’ Melody Gutierrez: “California voters will soon choose a leader for the state agency that wields significant power over the home, auto and other insurance policies purchased by millions of consumers, occupying an elected position that will be particularly influential in helping homeowners in areas prone to forest fires to maintain their insurance. .

“Nine candidates are vying for the position of California Insurance Commissioner, a regulator empowered to approve or reject rate increases and investigate fraud. The top two in the June 7 primary will face off in the general election of November Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Los Angeles, is seeking to retain his seat amid a fierce challenge from a Democratic opponent, San Rafael Assemblyman Marc Levine.

In this Central Valley town, a growing community of Afghan refugees say they feel forgotten, abandonedby Deepa Fernandes of SF Chronicle: “More than 2,900 refugees evacuated from Afghanistan during the US pullout have landed in Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose and Turlock, where the IRC has offices in Northern California. The vast majority of them have moved on to some form of permanent housing which they must pay for while rebuilding their lives from scratch and meeting immigration requirements.

“But 148 remain in temporary accommodation, and 93 – 63% – are in Turlock, where frustrated refugees are filing negligence complaints against an overburdened IRC office which says it is doing its best in difficult circumstances.

“People on the ground say the situation reflects a collision between California’s housing crisis and a nation reverting to its refugee-friendly ideals after four years of anti-refugee government policies under the Trump administration that caused the shutdown. over 100 resettlement agency offices nationwide.

Compiled by Juhi Doshi

Private colleges want to change rules about how police respond to trespassing; however, students fear the proposal could lead to racial profiling. (Cal Matters)

ACLU Calls Irvine Unified School District Board Policyto delete public comments. (OC voice)

Santa Clarita School Districtreplaces its counselors with social workers. (Ed Source)

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