As part of a $123.9 billion pre-K and K-12 education package, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday investing funds toward creating a universal pre-K program for all 4-year-old children.
The program will begin incrementally in 2022-23 and potentially be fully implemented by 2025-26, according to a press release from Newsom’s office.
“California is leveling the playing field by finally achieving universal pre-kindergarten,” Newsom said in the press release. “Regardless of their family’s income or immigration status, California’s children will have access to crucial high-quality instruction by age four.”
Under the bill, the state will use $3 billion to create “full-service community schools” with family engagement, mental health and other social services. The bill also includes more than $1 billion to improve staff-to-student ratios at schools serving the highest concentrations of “vulnerable” students, the press release adds.
The bill also provides funds to supplement summer and after-school programs at multiple schools and draw more teachers to high-need and high-poverty schools, the press release notes. As part of the bill, all schools will return to offering full in-person instruction in the following school year.
“California’s schools have access to unprecedented resources to implement safety measures and expand programs to address the social-emotional and academic needs of students,” the press release reads.