McLachlan-Wilson bill will help invest in Colorado’s future

(Apr. 30) – A bipartisan bill by Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Rep Jim Wilson, R-Salida, to fund full-day kindergarten is heading to the Governor’s desk. The upcoming state budget proposes funding full-day kindergarten in a responsible, sustainable manner.

“This bill is about setting our kids up for successthe kids who live in rural, urban, and suburban areas, on the Western Slope, on the Eastern Plains and in every corner of our state,” said Rep. McLachlan, chair of the House Education committee. “Access to early childhood education is the best gift we can give to young learners. This is a historic moment and I am proud that we were able to get full-day kindergarten to the governor for his signature. Full-day K will provide terrific benefits for the hardworking families of our state for many years to come.”

Many young students lack access to full-day kindergarten, despite research showing they will benefit significantly from this learning experience.  

While a large number of Colorado schools have increased access to full day kindergarten over time despite inadequate funding, there are still 14,000 children without access to this important educational resource. Those who lack access often face some of the steepest obstacles to affording the tuition that is charged in many districts or live in communities that cannot afford to cut resources from other parts of the K-12 budget to offer a free full-day experience. Increased state funding would help open doors to a research-proven strategy to improve children’s academic and life success.

An added benefit of funding full-day kindergarten is the complementary freeing up of more than 5,000 Early Childhood At-Risk Enhancement (ECARE) slots in the Colorado Preschool Program for young learners.

HB19-1262 was approved in the House with a bipartisan vote of 54-11. It was approved unanimously in the Senate.  

The text of HB19-1262 can be found here.   

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