A reality check on Polis’ plans to expand preschool, kindergarten: Pie in the sky?
Author: Dan Njegomir - June 14, 2017 - Updated: June 16, 2017
Assuming you want to know even more about 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’s bid for the governor’s office — and, hey, maybe you do — it’s not too early to bring some of the Boulder Democrat’s ambitious goals back down to earth. Notably, his campaign proposal to offer free preschool and full-day kindergarten to all Colorado kids.
Chalkbeat Colorado’s Nicholas Garcia cuts to the chase and finds that Polis might have a hard time delivering, especially if, as he told Chalkbeat, he hopes to go to state voters for a tax hike to cover the “hundreds of millions of dollars required.”
… Colorado voters historically have rejected statewide tax increases for education, and state lawmakers have little appetite to spend existing money on early childhood education.
… It’s unclear how much it would cost to pay for universal preschool access. The state spent $86 million in 2015 to send more than 21,000 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds to preschool through the Colorado Preschool Project.
To pay for full-day kindergarten for all Colorado students, the state would need to spend about an additional $250 million, according to a 2016 legislative analysis.
Garcia also runs the idea by a member of the General Assembly:
State Rep. Jim Wilson, a Salida Republican, has attempted to send more money to the state’s kindergarten classrooms for the last three years. He said he welcomed Polis’s commitment, but was skeptical.
“There’s a whole lot of difference between an election and reality,” he said. “I don’t see the governor’s office, no matter who is in there, sending a budget with $250 million for full-day kindergarten.”