Sep 15, 2022 - News

Universal preschool could expand for some families

Gov. Jared Polis speaks to a kindergarten class during a tour of the school in January 2019. Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A state panel will consider extending free preschool hours and allowing more children of low- and middle-income families to participate in the new state program.

Why it matters: Proposed changes set for review Thursday could make some kids eligible for 20 hours a week of preschool starting in the 2023-24 school year, double the hours currently guaranteed for all 4-year-olds across the state, our education reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.

Details: Families earning up to 270% of the federal poverty limit would be eligible for the extra preschool hours.

  • A family of four earning $75,000 annually, for instance, would qualify — a notable change from the current rules allowing families earning up to 185% of the federal poverty limit.
  • Kids who are dual-language learners, have disabilities or are in foster care would automatically qualify.

The big picture: The rules could expand the pool of children who are considered low-income, which may mean more kids have access to more schooling— addressing concerns from parents and educators who said the 10-hour-per-week plan wasn't sufficient.

By the numbers: The state's current program serves about 21,000 students.

  • The new preschool option slated to begin in 2023 is expected to enroll triple the number of students.

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