Governor Gavin Newsom signed a key component of his $123.9 billion Pre-K and K-12 education package on Friday. He signed bill AB 130 when visiting Shearer Elementary, a school part of Napa Valley Unified School District. The education package is designed to help students reach their full potential and includes several investments in education.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California’s future and expand opportunities for every child across the state,” said Governor Newsom in a press release. “We’re investing a historic $123.9 billion to reduce barriers and increase opportunities across the board as students return to the classroom.”
The education bill will invest $3 billion to convert school sites into full-service community schools. This will include an expanded learning time, family engagement and wraparound health, mental health and social services.
It will also invest $1.8 billion in ongoing funds for summer and after-school programs at all schools serving higher concentrations of vulnerable students, with a plan to grow to $5 billion by 2025, $2.9 billion to match well-prepared teachers with vulnerable students, this includes $500 million in grants for teachers who will teach at high-need schools and $250 million to attract expert teachers to high-poverty schools.
There will be an ongoing increase of $1.1 billion to improve staff-to-student ratios at schools serving higher concentrations of vulnerable students, this includes up to five additional counselors, nurses, teachers or paraeducators at each school. Construction and renovation of state preschools, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten facilities will be supported with $490 million, culminating in $2.7 billion in ongoing funds starting 2025-26 for universal Pre-K for all 4-year-olds with adult-to-student ratios cut in half.
Universal free school nutrition, including access to two free meals every day for all students will have $650 million in ongoing funds by 2022-23 and $150 million will be allocated to improve kitchen infrastructure and nutritional training.
The bill will invest over $1.5 billion in ongoing and one-time increases to special education funding, this includes $260 million for early intervention for preschool-aged children.
“California is leveling the playing field by finally achieving universal pre-kindergarten. Regardless of their family’s income or immigration status, California’s children will have access to crucial high-quality instruction by age four,” said Newsom. “We are reducing class sizes, supporting Pre-K educators and investing in more preschool facilities to ensure our students get off to a strong start.”
According to Newsom, the legislation also ensures all schools return to offering full in-person instruction. Schools will have access to unprecedented resources to ensure safety measures are implemented. The resources will also allow schools to expand programs to address the social-emotional and academic needs of students.