JULY 2014 NEWS
Field Trip to Land's End
Members of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy give kids from FACES SF's after school program a tour of Land's End in San Francisco.
A Budget Victory for Early Care Programs - But Just the Beginning of What's Needed
On June 20, Governor Brown signed the 2014-15 budget into law. The budget represents a striking victory for advocates of Early Childhood Education, and most importantly, for the children and families who benefit from ECE programs throughout the state. Overall, there is $264 million in additional spending for preschool and daycare for the State’s low-income families. This includes $49 million dollars to increase the standard reimbursement rate for state-contracted preschool providers, representing a 5% increase, effective on July 1, 2014.
After years of devastating budget cuts to early care and education programs, the tide seems to have finally turned in California. "The investments in this budget are the most significant in years," said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee.
“The passing of this budget is good news for low-income families,” says Lawland Long, Executive Director of FACES SF. Over the last several months Long has partnered with 32 other early care and education agencies in San Francisco to tackle the problem of inadequate reimbursement rates for child care programs in San Francisco and throughout the State. Their efforts have begun to pay off.
Even with the victory, though, Long points out there is much more work to do to stabilize the funding situation for early care and education programs in California.
“This is not the end of the drought,” he says. “This is just the first rain of winter. The budget is a step in the right direction. It’s a validation of our concerns. But 5% is a drop in the bucket. It’s helpful, but not adequate. We have to continue the fight to bring sustainable funding to ECE programs.”
He adds that reimbursement rate increases of at least 25% are what’s needed to fund ECE programs sustainably. Some of the increase would go to help ECE teachers earn a more livable wage and keep good teachers in the field. “ECE teachers are the lowest paid people with one of the hardest jobs in the United States.”
“The drive to 5% is finished,” Long adds. “Now we have to start a new drive.”