NewsCovering Colorado


Preschool providers feeling stressed as UPK pushes back matching deadline

UPK Colorado said the extension allows for more time to better match families with their first and second choices
Posted at 7:06 PM, Mar 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-31 00:42:32-04

PUEBLO, Colo. — Almost 30,000 families will have to wait even longer to get matched with a Universal Preschool (UPK) provider.

The deadline for the first round of matching got pushed back from March 30th to April 26th.

"We had been asking, 'is there any way we could have more time,' and we were told no, so I was surprised by it," said the early childhood specialist at school district 60 Darlene Bermudez.

UPK Colorado said the extension allows officials more time to better match families with their first and second choices.

Bermudez said the district is feeling some relief but worries about placing kids in time and where they want.

"That's where we run into snags, there's more of a request for a particular school than we can accommodate," said Bermudez.

UPK aims to increase access to affordable preschool. It plans to pay for up to 15 hours of free preschool every week with matched providers.

"It would [be] good for us and good for the kids, so I just appreciate any help we could get," said one D60 preschool grandparent Rudy Martinez.

Martinez said his family is planning to apply for UPK.

Bermudez said she recommends families sign up as soon as possible.

"It's not advertised as being a first come first serve basis," said Bermudez. "[But] at the end what happens is you take whatever's left."

Martinez said there are a lot of Pueblo families who can use UPK's help.

"'Cause there a lot of kids that can't afford to get into schools like this and parents that don't know to do it," said Martinez.

D60 is one of almost 2,000 providers signed up to participate next school year. Bermudez said they've recieved 330 applications through UPK already.

Funding for UPK Colorado is coming from a voter-approved tax on tobacco.


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