DENVER, CO-– Governor Polis today signed three bills into law that will invest $100 million to expand access to affordable child care, fix and improve air quality filtration systems in public schools and provide Colorado students with high-impact tutoring to address disrupted learning from COVID-19.
“Child care costs are overwhelming Colorado families and make it harder for parents, especially working moms, to get back to work and find a safe place for their children to learn,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, a prime sponsor of both SB21-236 and HB21-1234. “By creating affordable child care options and supporting the child care professional workforce, we are going to boost our economy and help Coloradans get back to work while providing more young kids the early childhood education they need to thrive. I’m also proud that the governor signed critical legislation to provide $5 million to fund high-impact tutoring for K-12 students to address pandemic-related learning disruptions.”
SB21-236, sponsored by Representatives Kerry Tipper and Tonya Van Bener, provides $100 million to support child care providers and young families in Colorado. First, it creates the new innovative Employer-based Child Care Facility Grant Program and funds it with Colorado Comeback state stimulus dollars. The program would award matching grants to nonprofit, private, and government employers to retrofit and develop new, on-site or near-site licensed child care facilities. The bill also sets up a framework to ensure hundreds of millions of federal dollars directed to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) can be spent effectively and efficiently by the Department of Human Services. SB21-236 sets up several new programs and adequately funds several others to ensure Colorado’s youngest kids, as well as their parents and early childhood professionals, can thrive.
HB21-1234, sponsored by Representatives Kerry Tipper and Mary Bradfield, would create and fund the Colorado High Impact Tutoring Program. Data consistently demonstrates that high-impact tutoring, when administered during the school day to groups of four or fewer students by the same qualified tutor at least three times per week, is one of the most effective interventions to raise student achievement. This program would be administered under the Colorado Department of Education and would provide grants to local education providers for high impact tutoring programs designed to address COVID-related learning disruption.
“Every student in Colorado should have a safe and comfortable school environment that is conducive to learning, but there are schools in our state that lack adequate air filtration and ventilation,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “We are going to build back stronger by using state stimulus funds to make critical school improvements that will create jobs and help provide more students with the school facilities they need to learn and excel.”
SB21-202, also sponsored by Rep. Colin Larson, would allocate $10 million for Building Excellent Schools Today grants to fund much-needed public school air quality improvement projects to improve air quality in as many public and charter school facilities as possible. Kids learn better in environments that are safe, clean, and healthy. Unfortunately, over the years, Colorado’s deferred maintenance of school facilities has grown, particularly in rural areas. These construction and capital projects will create good jobs, make long-term improvements to Colorado schools’ infrastructures, and provide safer, more constructive learning environments for students.