Gov. Polis’ full-day kindergarten program could bust its budget by $40 million in first year, state survey predicts |

Gov. Polis’ full-day kindergarten program could bust its budget by $40 million in first year, state survey predicts

Kindergarten classes at Downtown Denver Expeditionary School on Thursday, January 31, 2019.
Cyrus McCrimmon / Colorado Children’s Campaign | Cyrus McCrimmon Visuals

School administrators anticipate near-universal attendance in free, full-day kindergarten this fall, a state survey found, which would blow a $40 million hole in the budget Colorado lawmakers set for the first year of the new program.

In the last school year, 36 of the Colorado’s 178 school districts had students enrolled in half-day kindergarten programs, according to the survey. All but three of those districts and one charter school network plan to move to full-day kindergarten classes in the next school year, the survey by the Colorado Department of Education further found.

The rapid adoption rate by districts that previously enrolled students in half-day classes could signal budget trouble for the top policy issue Gov. Jared Polis pushed through the legislature this year.

“The news that more school districts and families will take advantage of full-day kindergarten is great news for our state and parents,” Conor Cahill, the governor’s spokesman, said Friday in an emailed statement. “Full-day kindergarten has been long overdue in Colorado, will improve student outcomes, save families money and help our economy.”

Read the full story at The Colorado Sun.

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