In 2021 California took a big step toward the goal of ensuring broader access to early education with groundbreaking legislation to provide free, universal TK for all four-year-old children in the state by 2025. The plan will bring TK education to every district in the state, giving approximately 400,000 students—no matter their income or zip code—the opportunity to succeed and thrive in school. The transition from preschool into elementary school is critical in developing students’ social and cognitive skills. The hope is this expansion will go a long way toward closing an achievement gap that persists in California.

This mandate has set in motion the expansion of facilities in school districts across the state—a major undertaking, essentially adding a whole new instructional level on many school campuses.

At the September 27th State Allocation Board (SAB) meeting the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) presented proposed regulation changes to the PTKFDKFGP as well as the 4th funding round of project apportionments. The SAB approved $346 million in new construction and retrofit applications.

California has adopted and endorsed a Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) model that includes transitional kindergarten and the California Preschool Program. California school districts are eligible to apply for funding through the PTKFDKFGP for facility projects that will serve transitional kindergarten and/or full-day kindergarten programs. County Offices of Education and School Districts are eligible to apply for funding to construct, modernize and/or retrofit existing school facilities for the purposes of providing California Preschool program instruction. Due to the increased scope of the program, projects have become more complex (growing from one & two classroom additions or modernizations to new early education centers that may serve a whole district).

OPSC suggested that regulation changes for the program were needed and warranted as the program has grown in size and scale since the inception of Assembly Bill 1808 in 2018. School districts also continue to face delays in construction timelines and access to equipment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulation changes would allow more time for districts to meet fund release and project completion deadlines. The regulation changes would apply to projects funded in the third and fourth filing rounds as well as future filing rounds. Districts will now have 18 months from the time of apportionment to submit a fund release and three years from the first apportionment for project completion.

We anticipate future filing rounds for this program to pick up in 2024-25, as the 2023-24 budget delayed the proposed $550 million funding for the program to the 2024-25 fiscal year. It is also expected that the future statewide school facilities bond may include funding for this program as well. We will continue to include program and bond updates as we approach the 2025 mandate deadline.

If your district has questions about program funding, please contact Julie Strauss at HMC School Advisors.

Julie Strauss

PreK-12 Market Leader

Julie is HMC's PreK-12 market leader and has 15 years of experience assisting PreK-12 districts throughout California to maximize and secure state funding. She is active in the Coalition of Adequate School Housing (CASH). She has served on the Legislative Advisory Committee, completed the CASH Leadership Academy, and recently received her Accredited Learning Environment Planner (ALEP) designation with the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE).

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