Governor-Elected Gavin Newsom has let it be known that he plans to use California’s large reserves to expand pre-K.

As we have learned in New York City these past few years, expanding pre-K is great, but it is far from enough.

The most pressing problem in California’s schools are:

1. Reducing class sizes in K-12
2. Increasing teachers’ salaries
3. A moratorium on charter schools, which take money away from public schools
4. Providing the counselors and support personnel that schools need

Governor-Elect Newsom should not forget that the billionaires spent huge sums of money funding former Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, who came in third.

And they spent millions more trying to defeat new State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and losing.

Put the money where the kids are.

Pre-K is nice but not enough.

From the LA Times:

Seeking to frame his new administration as one with a firm focus on closing the gap between children from affluent and poor families, Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will propose spending some $1.8 billion on an array of programs designed to boost California’s enrollment in early education and child-care programs.

Newsom’s plan, which he hinted at in a Fresno event last month, will be a key element in the state budget proposal he submits to the Legislature shortly after taking office Monday, a source close to the governor-elect’s transition team said Tuesday.

The spending would boost programs designed to ensure children enter kindergarten prepared to learn, closing what some researchers have called the “readiness gap” that exists based on a family’s income. It would also phase in an expansion of prekindergarten, and offer money to help school districts that don’t have facilities for full-day kindergarten.

“The fact that he’s making significant investments with his opening budget is really exciting,” Ted Lempert, president of the Bay Area-based nonprofit Children Now, said Tuesday. “What’s exciting is the comprehensiveness of it, because it’s saying we’re going to focus on prenatal through age 5.”

A broad overview document reviewed by The Times shows that most of the outlay under the plan — $1.5 billion — would be a one-time expense in the budget year that begins July 1. Those dollars would be a single infusion of cash, an approach favored by Gov. Jerry Brown in recent years.

Most of the money would be spent on efforts to expand childcare services and kindergarten classes. By law, a governor must submit a full budget to the Legislature no later than Jan. 10. Lawmakers will spend the winter and spring reviewing the proposal and must send a final budget plan to Newsom by June 15.

The governor-elect will propose a $750-million boost to kindergarten funding, aimed at expanding facilities to allow full-day programs. A number of school districts offer only part-day programs, leaving many low-income families to skip enrolling their children due to kindergarten classes that end in the middle of the workday. The dollars would not count toward California’s three-decades-old education spending guarantee, Proposition 98, and therefore would not reduce planned spending on other education services.

Close behind in total cost is a budget proposal by Newsom to help train child-care workers and expand local facilities already subsidized by the state, as well as those serving parents who attend state colleges and universities. Together, those efforts could cost a total of $747 million, according to the document reviewed Tuesday.

An expansion of prekindergarten programs would be phased in over three years at a cost of $125 million in the first year. The multiyear rollout would, according to the budget overview, “ensure the system can plan for the increase in capacity.”
Lempert said the Newsom proposal is notable for trying to avoid battles in recent years that pitted prekindergarten and expanded child care against each other for additional taxpayer dollars…

Another $200 million of the proposal would be earmarked for programs that provide home visits to expectant parents from limited-income families and programs that provide healthcare screenings for young children. Some of the money would come from the state’s Medi-Cal program, and other money from federal matching dollars. Funding for the home visits program was provided in the budget Brown signed last summer, and the Newsom effort would build on that.

The incoming governor is likely to face considerable demands for additional spending, in part because the Legislature’s independent analysts believe continued strength in tax revenues could produce a cash reserve of some $29 billion over the next 18 months. Almost $15 billion of that amount could be in unrestricted reserves, the kind that can be spent on any number of government programs.