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Legislation promises to provide high-quality preschool options to all Colorado kids

The Senate today gave final approval to President Steve Fenberg (D-Boulder) and Senator Janet Buckner (D-Aurora)’s landmark bill to implement universal preschool and provide high-quality early childhood education and support to every Colorado kid.

Colorado State Senate Chambers. Image by Flickr

HB22-1295 implements recommendations for the Department of Early Childhood to elevate early childhood education and ensures that early childhood care is easy to navigate for all Colorado families.

The legislation builds off of last year’s HB21-1304, which established the Department of Early Childhood and charged the agency with implementing universal preschool, improving education outcomes, and supporting families in expanding access to enriching early childhood experiences.

“Establishing universal preschool in Colorado is one of the most impactful things we are doing this session,” said Fenberg. “Quality early childhood education is critical to a child’s future success, and streamlining the process to increase availability and affordability is just as beneficial to the parents of young children. The new department is going to make transformational changes for Colorado kids and their families.”

“Access to child care not only supports critical early development and future educational outcomes but also the very well-being of families across our state,” said Buckner. “As we work to move Colorado forward, this bill will directly benefit families across our state, saving people money and setting our future leaders up for success. I am so proud of the work that we’ve done to get to this point, and am excited to see how the new Department of Early Childhood will benefit Colorado’s youth for generations to come.”

The program will provide 10 hours per week of free, high-quality preschool to every child the year before entering kindergarten starting in the 2023 school year, saving families thousands of dollars per year. The legislation supports mixed delivery preschool options, prioritizing quality and respecting parental choice for where to send their child to school, while strengthening and supporting local infrastructure to best serve each community’s individual needs.

The bill now heads to the House for concurrence of Senate amendments. Follow the bill’s progress here.