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What would funding full-day kindergarten mean for Colorado?

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There was a great deal of discussion during the election cycle, and a growing amount in the lead-up to the 2019 legislative session, about the potential to increase support for full-day kindergarten and preschool in Colorado. In a future KidsFlash, we will look at the substantial unmet need and potential return on investment of preschool, but focus our attention on funding full-day kindergarten (and how doing so frees up additional resources to eliminate the wait list for Colorado’s highly successful state PreK program (CPP)) in this week’s edition.

How’d we get here?

An abundance of research demonstrates that access to a full day of kindergarten is an effective approach to supporting the school readiness of young children. Parents and school districts also recognize this: despite the fact that the state only funds a little more than half a day of kindergarten for all kids, nearly all Colorado children attend kindergarten and 78 percent of all enrolled kindergarteners are in a full-day program this year. This is up from just 14 percent in 2001 and just 40 percent in 2007.  Currently, 140 of Colorado’s 178 school districts have all kindergarteners enrolled in a full-day program. All but 30 school districts have 95 percent or more of their kindergarteners in a full-day kindergarten program. All but five school districts offer a full-day program. In short, demand has increased dramatically for full-day kindergarten during the past 17 years and continues to increase, but without adequate funding support from the General Assembly.


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