Bipartisan vote of 53-11
(Apr. 16) – A bipartisan bill by Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Rep Jim Wilson, R-Salida, to fund full-day kindergarten for Colorado’s youngest learners was approved by the House today. The state budget proposes funding full-day kindergarten in a responsible, sustainable manner.
“We have the tools to set our kids up for success－the kids who live in every corner of our state,” said Rep. McLachlan, chair of the House Education committee. “As a former teacher, I can definitively say that early childhood education is a necessity to set our kids up for the future. Full-day Kindergarten is an investment that will reap profound 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 on a bipartisan vote of 53-11 and now heads to the Senate.