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(KTXL) — Head Start California asked state lawmakers to provide the program with state funding for the first time in this year’s state budget.

Head Start is a federal program that prepares low-income children for kindergarten.

The program said $50 million in funding would be used to boost teacher salaries to help attract and keep educators in California.

“Our programs serve approximately 100,000 of the most vulnerable children and families in California each year, but programs struggle to pay the wages to attract and retain high quality teachers, so in order to keep classrooms open we need support from the state to increase our teacher salaries,” said Head Start California spokesperson Anna Ioakimedes.

14 states provide funding for the program.