Early Childhood

Special Report: Full-day kindergarten clears its first legislative hurdle

We’ve been covering Gov. Jared Polis’ plan for statewide free full-day kindergarten since he announced it on the campaign trail last fall. To help you keep track of all the key developments, we’ve compiled five stories below, including one on today’s committee hearing.

Here’s what lawmakers said about the full-day kindergarten bill at today’s hearing

Colorado’s long road to full-day kindergarten passed a first test Tuesday, winning House Education Committee approval. The unanimous vote was met with cheers, applause, and comparisons to completing the transcontinental railroad 150 years ago. No one showed up to oppose the bill. Read more

Some of state’s largest districts are eager to add full-day kindergarten. Is there enough money?

Lawmakers have set aside $185 million — about 80 percent of what Polis requested — to pay for full-day kindergarten next year. The rationale is that some districts won’t adopt full-day programming next year and not all parents will enroll their children, but many school leaders say they expect a flood of interest. Read more

Full-day kindergarten across the nation: How does Colorado compare?

Some states have offered free-full-day kindergarten to all students for decades and others are just jumping on the bandwagon. Here’s a look at how Colorado stacks up to states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and more. Read more

Parents ‘on the bubble’ say free full-day kindergarten will ease financial stress

Many low-income families already have access to free full-day kindergarten, so Polis’ plan won’t make much practical difference in their lives. But some middle-income families who otherwise would have to pay tuition say it will be easier to make ends meet with free full-day programming. Read more

Full-day kindergarten will fuel a preschool expansion. Providers want more than just seats.

Funding full-day kindergarten will free up more than 5,000 state-funded preschool spots, a prospect that providers are cheering, even though it will be challenging to pull off. There’s a shortage of teachers and space, they say. (Polis had campaigned on adding 8,000 new spots for young students, but the budget approved by lawmakers doesn’t include money for the other 3,000.) Read more