The 2017-18 Budget: Analysis of child care and preschool proposals

March 16, 2017

OC Breeze, March 16

In this report, we analyze the Governor’s child care and preschool proposals, the California Department of Education’s revised quality improvement expenditure plan, and the state’s funding model for Alternative Payment (AP) agencies.

Recommend Rejecting Governor’s Preschool Proposals and Taking More Holistic Approach. We recommend the Legislature ensure children currently eligible for State Preschool are served before expanding eligibility. We also recommend the Legislature reject the Governor’s various proposals intended to align State Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten and instead pursue alignment more holistically. Considering eligibility criteria, program standards, and funding levels in tandem would provide greater policy coherence.

Recommend Taking New Approach to Quality Improvement Activities. We recommend repackaging $21 million from seven existing programs run by various county-level entities into a new county block grant that would be more flexible. We recommend funding the remaining state-level quality improvement programs as proposed but hiring an independent evaluator to assess the programs over the next several years.

Recommend Adopting a Per-Child Funding Model for AP Agencies. We recommend the Legislature replace the existing funding model for AP agencies with one more tightly linked to their underlying cost drivers. Specifically, we recommend funding AP agencies based on the number of children served, with adjustments for regional cost differences. We recommend phasing in the new funding model over several years.

This report is available using the following link: http://lao.ca.gov/publications/report/3618?utm_source=subscription

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