Democratic state Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, a steadfast champion of early learning, has introduced a package of bills intended to greatly increase access to preschool for low-income children across California. One bill (AB 123) would spend $1.3 billion over three years to increase the number of slots in California’s State Preschool Program (CSPP) from approximately 175,000 to 250,000 and change the eligibility rules so that children living in a school attendance are where more than 70% of children enroll in free and reduced-priced lunch programs can be enrolled – regardless of their families’ income. A second bill (AB 124) would create a $500 million bond for acquisition, construction, or retrofit of surplus classrooms to use as preschool classrooms. The final bill (AB 125) would create a single, regionalized rate system for all early learning services – instead of the current system of one statewide rate for CSPP providers and different regionalized rates for other early care and education programs. Santa Clara County Senator Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Marc Berman are listed as authors on the bills, and Strong Start coalition members Early Edge California and Kidango are listed as sponsors. You can read more about the bills at the Assemblymember’s web site or in the San Francisco Chronicle