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Will COVID impact free preschool in Denver for 2021-22?

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School funding has been all over the place this year with COVID but just how will the Denver Preschool Program (DPP) be impacted?

Good News!

They recently announced their plans to preserve – and possibly increase – the amount of tuition support currently available to the families of Denver’s youngest learners for the 2021-2022 school year, despite the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on city sales tax revenue. All Denver families, regardless of income, will continue to save money on preschool tuition at the school of their choice. This move is one of many that the Denver Preschool Program has taken to support families and early childhood education providers in the City and County of Denver during this tumultuous time.

How Does It Work?

Providing consistent levels of tuition support is just one of the ways the Denver Preschool Program is working to create stability for families and preschools since the pandemic began. Through a combination of the below efforts, the organization helped preschools keep their doors open so that families had safe, reliable child care, also allowing them to continue to work:

  • Distributed $100,000 in emergency grants to Denver Preschool Program preschools
  • Became the fiscal agent for the State of Colorado’s Emergency Child Care Collaborative, distributing approximately $11 million to preschools serving essential workers
  • Waived attendance requirements March through August, allowing preschools to continue to receive funding regardless of whether their Denver Preschool Program students were able to attend school
  • Expanded its DPP Scholarship pilot program to all Denver Preschool Program preschools and shifted eligibility to serve a greater number of children in a more substantial way
  • Launched a pilot to support family childcare homes in paying for their general
    liability insurance
  • Partnered with Denver Public Schools to launch a Distance Learning Taskforce to seek opportunities to support schools and families with learning outside of the preschool classroom
  • Created a $250,000 DPP Sustainability Fund to support providers during the
    COVID-19 pandemic
  • Launched an online application system, providing a simple, more streamlined option for families to apply for tuition credits

“We are living in times of incredible uncertainty for the families we serve, as well as our preschool providers,” said Zach Hochstadt, chair of the Denver Preschool Program board of directors. “Through consistency with our tuition credit scale, as well as the variety of other programs and policies we’ve put in place, we can help ensure that one thing remains constant – the ability of the families we serve to provide their children with the benefits associated with high-quality early childhood education.”

How Do Tuition Savings Work? 

This will mark the 10th year in a row that the Denver Preschool Program has been able to increase or maintain the amount of tuition support it offers to Denver families. A typical family* can expect to receive at least $788/month in tuition savings during the 2021-2022 school year, with some families receiving as much as $1,000/month.

Funds are provided by a dedicated 0.15% sales tax, first approved by Denver voters in 2006 and reauthorized in 2014 to extend to 2026.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to explore their preschool options using the Denver Preschool Program’s online “Find a Preschool” tool. In addition, they can take advantage of the Denver Preschool Program’s online “Tuition Credit Calculator,” which allows families to estimate the amount of monthly tuition support they may be eligible to receive to lower the cost of preschool. The Denver Preschool Program accepts tuition support applications year-round.

For more information about the Denver Preschool Program, please visit www.dpp.org or call 303-595-4DPP (4377).

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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