April 26, 2019
Denver, CO – The Colorado State Senate today voted unanimously to pass HB19-1262, State Funding for Full-Day Kindergarten, a bill sponsored by Senator Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) to fund full-day kindergarten for families across the state. The bill now heads back to the House for consideration of amendments before heading to Governor Polis for his signature.
Roughly 20 percent of Colorado kindergarteners are not enrolled in a full-day program, according to the Colorado Department of Education. The other 80 percent of students who attend full-day kindergarten do so through paying tuition, scholarships, and local taxes. For those schools that do offer full-day kindergarten free of change, many do so at the expense of other critical programming.
“Every kid in Colorado deserves a fair shot at success no matter where they come from,” said Senator Bridges. “The differences kids show up with in first grade stay with them the rest of their educational careers. Fully funded full-day kindergarten gives every kid across the state a strong start, helps level the playing field, and ensures all our kids have the opportunity to earn a good life.”
“Full-day kindergarten programs better accommodate both students and working families, but we do Colorado students a disservice by requiring families to fund full-day kindergarten themselves,” said Senator Fields. “It’s time we invest in every child to ensure they have a strong head start.”
HB19-1262 would make it possible for every kindergartener to attend a full-day program without Colorado families having to pay out of pocket by increasing the per-pupil funding of kindergarteners to match students in older grades. The bill will not only fund full-day kindergarten, but it will also free up more than 5,000 Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) slots in the Colorado Preschool Program to offer kids a strong start at an early age.
For more information on HB19-1262, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1262.