DENVER — Friday, March 22, 2019 — Gov. Jared Polis joined legislators today to introduce full-day kindergarten legislation and highlight the $185 million set aside by the Joint Budget Committee to implement this legislation. These funds will fully fund anticipated full-day kindergarten enrollment at 1.0 this year and free up over 5,000 Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) slots for preschool, representing the largest increase in early childhood education in the state’s history.
“This week we made huge progress toward providing Colorado families with free, full-day kindergarten, said Governor Jared Polis. We are pleased that the Joint Budget Committee has recognized the enormous impact that free, full-day kindergarten would have in our state, and that legislators are introducing a bill to make this a reality. An investment in our children is an investment in our future.”
“Full-day kindergarten saves families money, frees up funding for over 5,000 free preschool slots, gives parents the option of going back to work sooner, and ensures that all children can get a strong start,” he continued.
This bill will fully fund full-day kindergarten through the School Finance Act formula. The bill also:
Frees up resources for school districts that currently subsidize full-day kindergarten to spend on other priorities, including increasing teacher pay, decreasing class size, and purchasing new technologies.
Provides access to free full-day kindergarten for families, saving Colorado parents up to $500 per month on tuition fees.
Narrows persistent achievement gaps by helping to provide free full-day kindergarten to every single child — regardless of their zip code.
Allows school districts that currently use ECARE for full-day kindergarten to retain ECARE slots to use for full or half-day preschool within that district.
Clarifies that nothing requires a child to attend full-day kindergarten or prohibits a school district from offering half-day kindergarten.