Newsom Proposes Universal TK
Gov. Gavin Newsom will unveil his annual May budget revision on Friday. The new spending plan will include a set of new proposals for education —- what the governor calls “a $20 billion blueprint over the next five years for the total transformation” of California schools.
The state has benefitted from a $76 billion budget surplus that will result in an extra $17.7 billion for public education. With part of that money, Newsom is planning a dramatic expansion of transitional kindergarten, eventually making free TK available to all 4-year-olds.
Newsom announced the package during a press conference at an elementary school in Castroville Wednesday. In addition to universal TK, the package includes:
- Another $3 billion for community schools
- An Additional $2.6 billion for in-school tutoring to close the learning gap
- A. Extra $1 billion for high needs districts to hire additional staff each year
- $500 for college savings for every public school first grader who qualifies for federally subsidized meals ($1,000 for each foster and homeless child)
- A 5.1% cost of living adjustment for the Local Control Funding Formula
- $3 billion to attract and train more teachers over the next several years
- $2 billion to aid schools with safe reopening, including COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics
Right now, there are 91,000 students enrolled in TK in California. Under current eligibility rules, they must turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. The current teacher shortage would pose a challenge for TK expansion. In the second half of 2020, retirements increased 26%.
The TK expansion would begin in 2022-23, with eligibility expanded to those who turn 5 by March 2. In 2023-24, eligibility would expand to those who turn 5 by July 2. Full implementation would come in 2024-25.