SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Seeking to frame his new administration as one with a firm focus on closing the gap between children from affluent and poor families, California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom will propose spending $1.8 billion on an array of programs designed to boost the state’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 will submit to the Legislature shortly after taking office Monday, a source close to the governor-elect’s transition team said.

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 Los Angeles Times on Tuesday 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 child-care 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.

Although legislative Democrats have pushed for additional early childhood funding in recent years — a key demand of the Legislative Women’s Caucus — those actions have typically come late in the budget-writing season in Sacramento.

“Quite frankly, to start out with a January proposal that includes that investment in California’s children reflects a new day,” state Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, a Democrat, said.

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 partial-day programs, leaving many low-income families to skip enrolling their children because kindergarten classes end in the middle of the workday. Because the money would not count toward meeting California’s three-decades-old education spending guarantee under Proposition 98, which sets a minimum annual funding level for K-12 schools and community colleges, it will 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 $747 million, according to the budget overview document.

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 the kinds of battles that in recent years pitted prekindergarten and expanded child care against each other for additional taxpayer dollars.

“The reality is we need to expand both simultaneously,” he said.

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 health care 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; the Newsom effort would build on that.

Emphasizing a policy area with broad appeal in his first state budget could reflect Newsom’s political sensibility about the challenges ahead. Democratic lawmakers and interest groups will be especially eager to see how Newsom addresses the demand for an overhaul of health care coverage in California — especially after a 2017 effort to create a single-payer, universal system fizzled. The path forward on health care is complex and costly, making early childhood education a more achievable goal in the governor-elect’s early tenure.

Newsom is likely to face considerable demands for other additional spending. In November, the Legislature’s independent analysts projected that continued strength in tax revenues could produce a cash reserve of $29 billion over the next 18 months. Almost $15 billion of that could be in unrestricted reserves, the kind that can be spent on any number of government programs.

Kim Belshe, executive director of the child advocacy organization First 5 LA and a former state health and human services secretary, said the initial Newsom budget proposal suggests the next governor will focus on a comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for children from low-income families.

“School-ready kids deserve quality early learning, strong and well-supported families, and access to early screening services,” Belshe said. Newsom “understands the ‘whole child,’ multifaceted needs of our kids and is clearly ready to lead.”

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Mitchell, the chair of the Senate budget committee, said she’s eager to see the details of the governor-elect’s proposal to determine whether it might signal the beginning of an even broader expansion of early education efforts. Similar efforts have been hindered by a lack of money and ongoing debate over which services to help children 5 and younger need state funding the most. Universal preschool, in particular, has been debated for more than a decade. California voters rejected a ballot measure to fund a full prekindergarten system in 2006.

“It’s clear there’s a new movement afoot trying to engage on investment for universal preschool,” Mitchell said. “How we invest, and how we prioritize that investment, is going to be a great conversation for the coming months.”

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