A group of lawmakers led by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg are backing a plan to expand pre-kindergarten classes for four-year old children in the state.
The benefits of such programs have long been known, but budget cuts in recent meant limited programs at the option of school districts. A state budget surplus prompted the introduction of a bill that would cost nearly $200 million in the first year, escalating to nearly a billion dollars in year five.
But lawmakers say it is actually a cost-cutting measure that saves $7 dollars on remedial and other programs for every dollar spent.
Steinberg said concerns over funding depleted state pension funds and increasing the state’s emergency reserve fund can be addressed by a budget surplus estimated at over $3 billion.