Free All-Day Kindergarten Available Next Year
Poudre School District will offer free all-day kindergarten to families beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.
Until now PSD families have paid tuition for all-day kindergarten because state funding did not cover all of the costs for full-day kindergarten programs. PSD's half-day kindergarten programs have always been free.
With the passage of House Bill 1262, Colorado will fund a student enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program at the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades beginning in the 2019-20 school year. This will allow Colorado school districts to offer free all-day kindergarten. Previously, Colorado funded kindergarten students at 58 percent of the rate that it paid for older students, which was not enough to cover all costs related to full-day kindergarten.
If desired, parents and guardians who have registered their child for half-day kindergarten, for the 2019-20 school year, can switch to the full-day program by contacting their child's school.
For more information see the "Frequently Asked Questions" below or contact your school.
What’s the story with Colorado’s all-day kindergarten programs? I’ve lived in other states, and kindergarten has always been free.
Under previous law, the State of Colorado’s school finance formula funded kindergarten students at 58 percent of the rate that it paid for older students. This was not enough to cover the costs of tuition-free, all-day kindergarten. Colorado’s 178 school districts could choose to offer half-day kindergarten or make up the difference by charging tuition or using other funds. PSD’s half-day programs were historically free, and the District charged tuition for full-day programs. With the May 2019 passage of House Bill 1262, the state will now fund a student enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program at the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades. Statewide funding of all-day kindergarten was one of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ earliest campaign promises.
What does all-day kindergarten mean for PSD and for my family?
Families will not have to pay PSD kindergarten tuition for the full-day programs (half-day programs are currently free). PSD will, starting in the 2019-20 school year, receive full state funding based upon the total number of students enrolled in all-day kindergarten. It’s important to note that the state will still fund half-day students at 58 percent of a full-day student.
My child is enrolled in full-day kindergarten in the current 2018-19 school year. Will I get a refund of the tuition I paid?
No. In and prior to the 2018-19 school year, the state funded kindergarten students at roughly half the rate it paid for older students. Under that model, PSD’s half-day programs were free, and the District charged tuition for full-day enrollment. Full state funding of all-day kindergarten will be in effect at the start of the 2019-20 school year. Additionally, those who still haven’t paid PSD full-day tuition for the 2018-19 school year, as of May 2019, will still need to do so. Those with questions may contact PSD’s Finance Department at 970-490-3561.
I’ve already enrolled my child in a half-day kindergarten program in Poudre School District for the 2019-20 school year. Can I switch and enroll them in a full-day program?
Yes. Guardians who have registered their child for half-day kindergarten will be able to enroll their child in a full-day kindergarten program. Please contact your child’s school as soon as possible to discuss the change.
Will half-day programs still be an option for families in the future?
Yes. In the first year of implementation (2019-20 school year), principals at each school will decide whether to offer a dedicated half-day program or offer an embedded model (where half-day and full-day students are in one classroom and half-day students leave early). As of April 2019, only Cache la Poudre, Johnson and Traut Core Knowledge elementary schools offer half-day programs.
Previously I had to be approved for a fee waiver for full-day kindergarten tuition. I have another child who will be in full-day kindergarten next year and my financial situation hasn't changed. Do I have to go through that application process again?
No. All parents and guardians, regardless of economic status, will be able to enroll their child in PSD’s all-day kindergarten (or half-day, if you choose) programs free of charge. Families should still plan to fill out a free and reduced meal application and the District’s Permission to Share Information for Fee/Charge Waivers form to be eligible for free-and-reduced meals, as well as additional fee waivers in PSD. For more information visit www.psdschools/fees.
If every parent or guardian decided to enroll their child in full-day kindergarten for the 2019-20 school year, will there be enough room in schools for all the kids?
PSD is not anticipating a dramatic increase in full-day enrollment. We expect that PSD will be able to accommodate all students whose families wish to enroll them in full-day kindergarten. We already accommodate about 80 percent of our kindergarten students in a full-day model, and many of our current half-day students are being served in full-day classrooms. Those students simply spend one half of the day in a full-day classroom. As of the October 2018 count, Poudre School District had 1,978 students enrolled in part- and full-time kindergarten.