Gov’s budget outline includes big priorities for kids

Written by: Riley Kitts
Date Posted: November 8, 2019

Last week, Gov. Jared Polis delivered his proposed budget to the Legislature and the Joint Budget Committee. The Children’s Campaign is thankful that the governor is building on the successes from the last legislative session and has continued to prioritize kids and families. His proposed budget for next year stands at $34.5 billion and addresses critical needs in health, K-12 education, and early childhood and more. Here are the highlights of what it means for kids:

We have been watching closely to make sure that funding is increased for the state’s Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) as the federal funds invested in the program will continue to go down over the next several years. We are pleased to see that Gov. Polis has prioritized increased state funding for CHP+ which provides health insurance coverage to thousands of children throughout the state. We have also been monitoring Colorado’s low vaccination rates for kids entering kindergarten. While we still believe that much more work needs to be done on this front, the governor’s budget includes funds for outreach and education, as well as grants for local public health agencies to implement strategies such as mobile health clinics, community and school-based vaccination clinics, and efforts to improve immunization data accuracy.

Included in the governor’s budget for public education are resources to increase per-pupil funding and bring the Budget Stabilization factor to a 10-year low. His proposal also addresses the teacher shortage throughout the state with funds for educator recruitment and retention strategies. And we are proud to see an emphasis on the social and emotional well-being of students, with funding built in to support safe schools and improve both school climate and student behavioral health services.

Lastly, the governor has dedicated a large portion of his budget on building capacity for and increasing access to high-quality early learning and care for children from birth through age 4. We welcome expansions for the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP), the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), Home Visitation, and Early Intervention. We also recognize that all of these expansions and improvements will not be sustainable without a qualified early child workforce to carry out the programming. The proposed budget includes investment in scholarships, apprenticeships, and loan forgiveness, all to recruit and retain the early childhood workforce that is, and will be, needed to care for our state’s youngest children.

The Children’s Campaign applauds the Gov. Polis’ first full budget proposal and we’re ready to ensure that children and families remain a priority in our state’s budget. We look forward to working with the governor’s administration and Colorado General Assembly on all these issues and more as we move into the 2020 Legislative Session. We will include details about specific spending recommendations and changes in future editions of KidsFlash.