Senator Leyva’s Universal Preschool Bill Graduates From Senate Education Committee

SB 976 Supported By Children, Parent, Education and Community Organizations

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Affirming the need to expand access to care and early learning opportunities for California’s youngest learners, an important bill by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that establishes universal preschool in California passed from the Senate Education Committee today.

Sponsored by the Child Care Resource Center, EveryChild California, First 5 California and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, Senate Bill 976 ensures that parents have the option to send their children to a public elementary school provider or a community-based childcare provider to benefit from universal preschool.

“California working families with children need and deserve more flexibility and options so that they truly benefit from transitional kindergarten, since many are currently unable to access those services for their kids,” Senator Leyva said. “SB 976 will help to make sure that families will continue to have high-quality and full-day options for their early learners.  We also know that childcare and early education was one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic—and recovery of our economy depends on the availability of early learning options for working parents—so I appreciate that this important bill is advancing in the legislative process.  SB 976 will offer flexibility to families, ensure care and learning options for children, and help to keep the primarily women-driven community based childcare provider industry providing these critical services.”

Last year, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed SB 130, which authorized universal transitional kindergarten.  SB 976 builds upon the work that was previously completed on transitional kindergarten so that California has the necessary expanded infrastructure in place for child care for working families.  SB 976 would build out the complementary mixed delivery community based system to ensure families have options that meet the early care and learning needs for their children.

Importantly, SB 976 would also provide much-needed stability for licensed community-based providers and their employees—many of whom are women of color—such that they will not be forced to close due to declining enrollment of preschool-aged children.   

Along with the strong coalition of bill sponsors, SB 976 has also already earned the support of dozens of children, parent, education and community organizations from across the state, including California Alternative Payment Program Association, Children Now, Crystal Stairs Inc., Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Parent Voices California, ReadyNation and San Bernardino City Unified School District, among others.  This measure will be considered next by the Senate Human Services Committee.