DENVER (KDVR) — As ballots hit mailboxes, FOX31 is breaking down what voters will be deciding on.
For the third time this year, ballots are going out in Denver. This time around, Denver voters will weigh in on school board candidates and one ballot question: 2P.
Following voter approval in 2006, people in Denver have been paying a 0.15% sales tax for Denver’s preschool program to lessen the costs for families.
“We have served 65,000 4-year-olds in Denver since our inception,” said Elisa Holguín, Denver Preschool Program CEO. “We’ve provided them with tuition support at a very high level. Our average tuition support is $850 per month, because the cost of preschool is high. The average cost of preschool is $12,000 per year. Parents need help. They can’t afford to pay for that.”
Voters approved an extension of the program in 2014, but that extension is set to run out in 2026 unless voters approve a permanent extension this time around.
“This is an amazing investment for Denver,” Holguín said. “For us, the success that we have had in the past just means that we can continue to do it in the future. It’s not increasing their taxes, it’s just continuing the work that we have been doing.”
The ballot language for Referred Question 2P reads: “Without raising additional taxes, shall the existing voter-approved fifteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.15%) sales and use tax dedicated to funding the Denver Preschool Program, set to expire on December 31, 2026, be permanently extended until such authority is altered or repealed by the Denver City Council or Denver voters?”
2P proponents: Funding can boost universal preschool
With more Colorado families using preschool than ever before through the state’s universal pre-K program, supporters are hoping Denver voters approve this question so families getting free half-day pre-K through the state can have their whole day covered with combined funding from Denver — and get younger kids covered too.
“The state UPK program has allowed us to start funding some 3-year-olds. So, for some of our families in Denver, their children are now starting when they are 3, and they are going to get two years of preschool before they start kindergarten,” Holguín said.
Several community groups are supporting this measure.
No arguments against it were submitted to the city’s elections division.