Denver Preschool Program

What is the Denver Preschool Program?

The Denver Preschool Program makes high quality preschool possible for all Denver families, regardless of income, pay for their children to attend a high-quality preschool of their choice. Since voters approved the Denver Preschool Program in 2006 and renewed in 2014, DPP has invested over $67 million in tuition support and nearly $10 million in quality improvement into the community.

Why?

Decades of research show that preschool promotes school success, leads to better jobs and even prevents crime.  And while the benefits appear to be greatest for children at-risk for school failure, preschool benefits all children, regardless of their economic status.

Who is eligible?

All Denver families with a child in their last year of preschool before kindergarten can sign up for tuition support through the Denver Preschool Program.That is a child that is 4-years-old on or before October 1 of the school year they plan to use their DPP tuition support. This tuition support can be used at any one of our more than 250 preschool partners all across the Denver area.

What preschools participate?

With over 250 preschool partners, the Denver Preschool Program offers families many options to choose from. These choices range from family child care homes and center-based programs to preschool classrooms in public schools. All licensed preschools that serve Denver children in the last year before kindergarten are eligible to participate.

How does the Denver Preschool Program promote preschool quality?

We rate our licensed preschool partners for quality and offer them coaching and grants to improve their quality. 

Where does the money come from?

In 2014, Denver voters renewed and extended the preschool sales tax to 15-cent sales tax on $100 purchases to fund the program. Since then, nearly 37,000 4-year-olds have benefited from more than $67 million in tuition support.

How is the money spent?

The vast majority of the funds are going to families for tuition credits and providers for quality improvement. Outreach and enrollment efforts ensure that families and preschools are aware of the program and its benefits. The Denver Preschool Program also engages in an annual evaluation process that looks at the outcomes of children who have gone through the program and ensures that DPP operations meet standards of excellence. By ordinance, administrative costs are limited to 7 percent of the sales tax revenue.

Who runs the Denver Preschool Program?

The Denver Preschool Program, Inc. is an independent, non-profit organization created to operate the Denver Preschool Program under a contract with the City and County of Denver. The DPP Board of Directors, provides oversight. 

Does the Denver Preschool Program fund religious-based schools?

Yes. Qualified faith-based providers agree to separate their religious instruction from their general curriculum so that tax dollars are not used to support religious instruction. 

What if I don't want my child to participate?

Participation in both preschool and the Denver Preschool Program is completely voluntary.