Senate Approves Leyva Universal Preschool Bill

SB 976 Will Ensure Important Flexibility for Working Families to Access Transitional Kindergarten for their Children

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

SACRAMENTO – With bipartisan support, the California State Senate today passed an important bill by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) that establishes universal preschool in California by expanding access to care and early learning opportunities for California’s youngest learners.  Specifically, 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.

“As the mom of twin daughters—and now both of them with small children of their own—I know firsthand the importance of early care and education, as well as finding care for young children,” Senator Leyva said.  “It is so important that we offer flexibility and options for working families with children who would benefit from transitional kindergarten, but are unable to access those services because of their own work or other day-to-day responsibilities.  With a mixed delivery system—as advanced in SB 976—parents with young children would have the needed flexibility for care, such as early drop-off, late pick-up, weekend care, or year-round care, as well as, help to protect the stability of jobs for teachers at community-based providers, which employ primarily women of color.  I thank my Senate colleagues for supporting the ability for parents to have the option to send their children to a public elementary school provider or a community based provider to benefit from universal preschool.”

In 2021, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed SB 130, which authorized universal transitional kindergarten.  SB 976 expands upon the work that was previously completed on transitional kindergarten so that California has the necessary expanded infrastructure in place for childcare for working families.  Senator Leyva’s measure 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.

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.   

Sponsored by the Child Care Resource Center, EveryChild California, First 5 California and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, SB 976 has also earned the support of dozens of children, parent, education and community organizations from across the state, including 4Cs Sonoma County, AFSCME / AFL-CIO, Altadena Nursery School, Building Blocks Preschool, California Alternative Payment Program Association, California Association for The Education of Young Children, California Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, California Legislative Women's Caucus, Californians for Quality Early Learning, Catalyst Family Inc., Child Action, Inc., Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, Child Care Law Center, Child Care Providers United, Child Development Resources of Ventura County, Inc., Children Now, Children's Council of San Francisco, Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, Concordia Church and Preschool, Council for A Strong America, Crystal Stairs, Inc., Delta Kappa Gamma International - Chi State, Discovery Parent Child Preschool, Early Care & Education Pathways to Success, Early Care and Education Consortium, Early Care Educators of San Francisco, Early Edge California, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, First 5 LA, Good2Know Partners, Kindercare Education, Laurel Hill Nursery School, Learning Care Group, Inc., Loomis Community Preschool, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Low Income Investment Fund, Martinez Early Childhood Center Inc., Mission: Readiness, Northern Directors Group, Old Firehouse School - Mill Valley, Only Love Children’s Center, Pacifica Co-op Nursery School, Parent Voices California, ReadyNation, Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition, San Bernardino City Unified School District, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Learning Experience Corp, Unite-LA, Inc., Westchester Parents Nursery School, YMCA of San Diego County and Young Horizons.

This measure next advances to the Assembly for consideration.