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Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal makes $2 billion investment in early childhood education

Shortly after taking office Monday morning, Gavin Newsom was expected to submit another key element in his state budget proposal to the legislature.

California’s newly sworn-in Governor is proposing a close to $2 billion dollar investment in early childhood education and programs.

Investing in early childhood education was one of Gavin Newsom’s major campaign promises.

“Now more than ever we Californians know how much a house matters and our children,” said Governor Gavin Newsom (D).

Now Newsom is trying to make good on his word, to the delight of educators and child advocates across the state and right here in Santa Barbara County.

“It would help organizations like ours that are providing critical services for our children in our county to be able to do more,” said Donna Barranco Fisher, Executive Director, Storyteller Children’s Center.

Storyteller Children’s Center provides kindergarten readiness for about 80 homeless families in Santa Barbara.

“We know that children around age three, their brain is 80 to 85% developed and by age five it’s 90 to 95% developed and we know particularly because of our children whose brains have not developed in a normal way, we have this window of opportunity to help change the wiring of the brain,” said Barranco Fisher.

Storyteller’s Executive Director says getting a small piece of Newsom’s close to $2 billion dollar pie would advance training for their teachers and improve the quality of care that they provide.

“To do the things that we do, it’s very expensive. We’re very unique, it’s highly expensive it would cost well over $15,000 a year and we don’t charge our families,” said Barranco Fisher.

Officials at Storyteller and First Five Santa Barbara County share a similar sentiment, early childhood education and programs encompass so much more than just babysitting.

“It’s not just child care, it’s healthcare, it’s visiting the homes, it’s the preschools and increasing the quality of our preschools,” said Wendy Sims-Moten, Executive Director, First 5 Santa Barbara County.

Sims-Moten says funding has been tricky and fragmented in the past and Newsom’s dedication to make this a priority has been sorely needed.

“Science research shows us that those early years are the best years to make the best investment and we know the future is a benefactor to that,” said Sims-Moten.

Sims-Moten says by closing the achievement gap and investing now, the entire community will reap the benefits down the road.

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