Gov. Polis’ full-day kindergarten proposal faces legislative skepticism |

Gov. Polis’ full-day kindergarten proposal faces legislative skepticism

Wilkes Morse learns Spanish from his kindergarten teacher Yessenia Infante, Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Dillon Valley Elementary School. Gov. Jared Polis' proposal to fully fund full-day kindergarten may free up $800,000 a year for Summit School District to use elsewhere, but is facing skepticism from fellow Democrats.
Hugh Carey /

Gov. Polis’ ambitious plan to fund full-day kindergarten across the state is facing skepticism from fellow legislative Democrats who are balking on the way to pay for it. The Colorado Sun reported that Democrats in the state legislature are worried about how to fit the estimated $227 million a year required for state-funded kindergarten in a state budget that is already ballooning amid other competing needs and with an economic downturn looming. While Colorado stands as having one of the strongest state economies in the country, the growing population and backlog of state projects needing funding has led fellow Democrats to admit that the governor’s proposal is a tough ask and may need to be “phased in” instead of funded all at once.

“I think it’s feasible within existing resources. The problem is that it comes at the expense of other areas of the budget,” Joint Budget Committee chair Sen. Dominick Moreno told the Sun. “There are so many competing demands. The transportation backlog, the dismal funding of higher ed, the debt we owe to schools. … (Full-day kindergarten) just jumps to the top of the list ahead of all those other things that we’ve been dealing with for years.”

A statement from the governor’s spokeswoman, Laurie Cipriano, waved away concerns on funding, insisting that the kindergarten program is critical for Colorado families, and that the governor has already taken into account long-term finances of the state and plans to shore them up to ensure full-day kindergarten can fit comfortably in the budget.

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