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California Democrats Propose Pre-K for All Kids

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Students in a transitional kindergarten class at H.W. Harkness Elementary School in Sacramento.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

In an elementary school near Sacramento, students in a transitional kindergarten class practice saying the date. With a little prodding, they shout out the day, month, and year in unison. 

These kids are among several thousand California four-year olds enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs. Now state Senate Democrats want to make transitional kindergarten available to all four-year-olds. The announced their proposal today.

But expanding the state's current transitional program would cost California nearly one billion dollars by the time it’s fully implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the money would well spent.

“I’m proud to call this wise-spending California. There are few better uses of the tax-payer dollars than investing in evidence based changed providing you people, four-year-olds, the head start that they need.” 

~Darrell Steinberg

Assembly Democrats have also made funding transitional kindergarten a budget priority for the coming year.

But the party will have to convince Governor Jerry Brown, who’s pushing a message of moderate spending. He will announce his budget on Friday. 

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Katie Orr

State Government Reporter

Katie Orr covers everything from the Governor to state agencies. She received her Masters in Political Science from San Diego State University. In her spare time Katie enjoys wine tasting and shopping, though she tries not to combine the two.   Read Full Bio