State preschool funding is having an impact
A once-empty preschool in south San Jose is now filled with 44 children, spending their days eagerly peering at insects through mega magnifying glasses or linking plastic gears to create contraptions.
Most of the children at Eden Palms Child Development Center in San Jose are from families that are unable to pay for preschool. The students are some of the 10,000-plus children from low-income families throughout California who are benefiting from an influx of state funding for preschools in 2014-15.
California has invested $219 million this school year to increase the number of preschool slots, train teachers, renovate facilities, increase funding to preschool operators and eliminate parent fees for part-day programs (see chart below). About $66 million of the total is dedicated to restoring funding cut during the recession. Full-day, full-year preschool openings, such as those offered at Eden Palms Center, get priority for those funds.
For the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, an additional $35.5 million has been allocated to expand the California State Preschool Program by 4,000 full-day, full-year slots, according to the California Department of Education. Created by lawmakers in 2008, the program includes meals and referrals to health and social services for low-income families.