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It’s time for Full-Day Kindergarten in Colorado

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About Full-Day Kindergarten in Colorado

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state—the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers—children need high-quality support for development. The foundation of our civic, social, and economic well-being in Colorado starts with a strong early childhood and education system—yet that base is currently missing a critical piece: statewide funding for full-day kindergarten.

The Kindergarten NOW Coalition supports fully funding full-day kindergarten for all Colorado kids in 2019 and beyond—no matter their zip code.

Full-Day Kindergarten overview on Biteable.

Why is full-day kindergarten such a wise investment?

  • Better prepared children. The research on full-day kindergarten and its benefits are robust and linked strongly to math and literacy skills and overall academic growth. In addition, full-day kindergarten helps educators identify children with developmental delays and special learning needs earlier and support them with appropriate interventions.
  • Help for family budgets. Many parents, even those with low incomes in many communities, must pay tuition to access a full-day experience. With tuition reaching more than $4,500 per school year in some communities, this cost is either prohibitive or represents a strain on many family budgets that full funding could alleviate.
  • Help for school budgets. Many school districts, especially in rural areas, are already absorbing the cost of providing full-day kindergarten. Ensuring adequate state investment will alleviate pressure on many school district budgets to invest in local priorities, such as teacher pay, smaller class sizes, and other support services.
  • Expanded early learning. Fully funding full-day kindergarten frees up more than 5,000 early learning slots currently used to support full-day kindergarten access for at-risk children. Only 24 percent of 4-year-olds in Colorado have access to state-funded preschool and there are several thousand children on our state preschool waitlist. Fully investing in full-day kindergarten allows us to open up preschool access for children facing the most barriers to learning to help ensure that they arrive in kindergarten ready to thrive.

Full-Day Kindergarten Bill Draft

Funding for Full-Day Kindergarten is Sustainable

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Full-day kindergarten in the news

Polis wants free all-day kindergarten available for all Colorado kids

Fox 31
Gov. Polis wants all-day kindergarten available for all Colorado kids

Friednash: Full-day kindergarten for our future

The Denver Post
Opinion: Friednash: Full-day kindergarten for our future

Gov. Polis details full-day kindergarten proposal to lawmakers

Associated Press
Gov. Polis details full-day kindergarten to lawmakers

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Coloradans speaking up for full-day kindergarten

  • Colorado State Board of Education Chairwoman Angelika Schroeder: “We know that high-quality kindergarten programs can help us close opportunity and achievement gaps and ensure that all students have a strong foundation for success throughout their school years.”
  • Denver Post Editorial Board: “We can think of no better investment for the next generation of Coloradans.”
  • Avon Elementary School Principal Dana Harrison: “Full-day kindergarten should be available to all Colorado kids — not just to parents and districts who can afford it. Lawmakers have an opportunity to ensure a brighter future for all of our kids here in Colorado. On behalf of our parents, our school, our district and our students, I urge them to take it.”

 

Share your story! We’re seeking stories of Coloradans’ experience with paying for full-day kindergarten. Has paying tuition strained your family budget? Did your child not get a full-day kindergarten experience because you couldn’t afford it? Or maybe your district couldn’t afford it? Any and all stories are welcome. Click here to share your story.

Attend a Kindergarten NOW kick-off meeting! Join us as we kick-off advocacy for full-day kindergarten in Colorado. RSVP for meetings in Golden, Westminster, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Click here to sign up for kick-off meetings in March.

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Take Action

How can I help make full-day kindergarten a reality for every Colorado child?

Ask your legislator to support full-day kindergarten in Colorado! 

Colorado legislators are considering a bill to fund full-day kindergarten in Colorado for every child—no matter their zip code or ability to pay. The proposal is still being put together, but will address several issues:

FULL DAY FUNDING: The proposal will fund full-day kindergarteners as full-day students rather than treating them as half-day students as we do currently. This will mean parents will no longer face the burden of tuition and districts will free up resources previously spent on full-day kindergarten to address local needs. Importantly, this proposal is not a mandate for school districts to offer full-day kindergarten nor is it a mandate for parents to enroll their children in a full day. Rather, it adequately funds parents’ educational choices for their children and ensures school districts don’t have to cut other priorities in order to fund these options.

EARLY LEARNING SUPPORT: Re-allocating more than 5,000 early learning slots currently being used for kindergarten to expand access to high-quality preschool for more children. 

Kindergarten Denver

How will this be paid for in a sustainable way?

Colorado is fortunate to have the budget flexibility to deliver on the promise of full-day kindergarten after decades of efforts to make this investment a reality—and to do so within existing resources.

Higher than expected property tax revenues, in particular, have created flexibility in funding for education, allowing the state to increase its investment in early learning and also add to the reserves to save for any future downturn.

The most recent revenue forecast includes higher than expected property tax revenue that allow this investment to be paid for within the existing budget and without having to cut from any other priorities. The Governor’s budget proposal includes more than $180 million for additional reserves, allowing Colorado to save for a rainy day and sustain this investment in future years. In addition, the Governor’s budget decreases the budget stabilization factor by $77 million, freeing up additional resources for districts to invest in local priorities.

Current revenue forecasts anticipate Colorado collecting additional revenue this year and the next two years, further supporting the sustainability of the investment. Property tax revenues are typically less volatile than income and sales taxes, and historically their decline has lagged a downturn in the economy, i.e., other General Fund revenue sources are on the upswing before property taxes decline.

Ask your legislator to support full-day kindergarten in Colorado!

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Speak Up

Speak Up For Full-Day Kindergarten In Your Community

Help spread the word: It’s time for full-day kindergarten in Colorado. Use these materials in your community to help build momentum.

Sign up here for updates from the Kindergarten NOW Coalition

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Kindergarten NOW Coalition

The Kindergarten NOW Coalition is a diverse and broad group of members from communities across Colorado. We represent educators, parents, advocates, and more. Interested in signing your organization up as a member of the Kindergarten NOW Coalition?

Want to join the coalition? Click here to sign up.

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Sign up here for updates from the Kindergarten NOW Coalition

Every community in Colorado will benefit from fully funding full-day kindergarten. We’ve broken down estimates of new revenue for each school district, and grouped them according to legislative districts.

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