UPDATED: 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10
Initial results from the 2023 election indicate that voters are heavily leaning towards keeping the Denver Preschool Program in place permanently.
Ballot measure 2P passed with nearly 80% of the vote as of the 4 p.m. ballot count on Nov. 10.
“This is such an endorsement from the voters saying that we are a good investment and that they trust and support the Denver Preschool Program,” said Elsa Holguín, Denver Preschool Program’s president and CEO on Election Night.
The Denver Preschool Program provides funding assistance to help all residents afford to send their children to preschool. The program allows parents to apply for support on a need-based sliding scale. 2P asked voters to prevent the program from sunsetting in 2026, and become a permanent fixture in the community.
The program, which got its start in 2006 after voters approved it two years earlier, is funded through a sales and use tax. The first ballot initiative was passed as a 0.12% sales and use tax, and in 2014, voter reauthorization increased the amount to 0.15%.
The state’s recently-implemented universal preschool program (UPK Colorado) can act as a supplement for the Denver Preschool Program for some families. For example, UPK covers preschool for 15 hours a week. By using those hours as credits, the Denver Preschool Program can offer its tuition assistance to go toward a full-day opportunity, which can help working families.
“In this election, we all win,” Holguín said. “The children in Denver get a great start to their education, and families can confidently return to the workforce. When you invest in a child, you’re also supporting the parents.”
The Denver Preschool Program also provides some grants to help schools pay for teacher early childhood education college courses and classroom learning materials.
“We know that teachers are the key,” Holguín said, adding that Denver Preschool Program also invests in teachers by providing stipends and retention- and sign-on bonuses to help address teacher shortages.
Schools in the Denver program must also meet a quality rating of three stars or higher from Colorado Shines — the state’s quality rating and improvement system provided by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood.
Children that have a high-quality preschool education are better prepared for kindergarten, Holguín said. They begin to read earlier, they graduate high school at higher rates and are more likely to go to college, she said.
“Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops by age 5,” Holguín said. “Early investment is the most critical time to invest in their education.”
More results in Denver:
Board of Education races
UPDATED: 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10
Brittni Johnson: 11.59%
John Youngquist: 60%
Kwame Spearman: 28.41%
Scott Baldermann: 45.1%
Kimberlee Sia: 54.9%
Marlene DeLaRosa: 58.66%
Adam Slutzker: 16.27%
Charmaine Lindsay: 25.07%