Problem Solvers answer your questions about Colorado’s new full-day kindergarten law

DENVER -- For the first time, Colorado is paying for children to go to kindergarten.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a bill committing $175 million to fund full-day kindergarten in the state beginning in the fall of 2019.

Currently, parents have to pay some form of tuition if they want their child to attend full-day kindergarten.

While the bill has received much attention, the Problem Solvers are providing guidance to parents who still have questions:

QUESTION #1

WILL IT BE AVAILABLE IN EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT?

The funding does allow for every school district to offer full-day kindergarten starting this fall. About 85 percent of the state already offers a version of full-day kindergarten and the transition is expected to be easy for those districts. According to Rep. Jim Wilson, a Republican who helped pass the measure into law, there is still a chance a few districts delay full-day implementation until future years because of a lack of faculty or rooms.

"Essentially, it amounts to facilities and faculty. If they have access to those, they can expand; if they can't, they will continue as they are until they can actually fund that," Wilson said.

QUESTION #2

WILL I GET MY DEPOSIT BACK?  

A number of parents already submitted a check to reserve their child a spot in full-day kindergarten for the fall of 2019. According to Polis, you should get your money back.

"I heard from a mom who asked me if she'll be getting her $600 deposit back. I said, 'I think so, check with your school.' She did and they said, 'yes,'" Polis said.

Polis has advised parents receiving a deposit back to put that money toward their child's college education.

QUESTION #3

MY CHILD IS TOO YOUNG FOR KINDERGARTEN. WILL IT BE OFFERED IN FUTURE YEARS?

Yes, that is the expectation, although lawmakers could technically cut funding at any time.

That's good news for parents like Erin Irwin in Denver whose son will go to kindergarten in two years.

"I couldn't afford it right now. Right now, I am on tuition assistance," Irwin said.

QUESTION #4

DO I HAVE TO ENROLL MY CHILD IN FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN?

No. Parents who wish to keep a child at home are still able to do so. Half-day Kindergarten is also expected to be offered in many districts.

QUESTION #5

MY CHILD IS IN KINDERGARTEN NOW. CAN I GET MY MONEY BACK?

Sorry, but no. The law only takes effect in the fall of 2019.

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