NewsCovering Colorado


UPK providers anticipate last-minute scramble to fill seats before school year

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 10, 2024

COLORADO SPRINGS — A returning universal preschool (UPK) provider told me the system is matching families with providers later this year than last, which could cause some last-minute scrambling to fill seats before the school year.

Sharon Wren won't know if her last UPK spot is taken until the end of July. Families have until then to decide whether to keep their matches.

"It's also a time crunch and it's also hard for us to plan for school opening," said Wren.

Wren said hiring extra staff members also depends on enrollment numbers, "but when I don't know how many spots are filled, I don't know if I can technically afford them until the end of July so what do I do."

Wren said she got a bonus from the state for sticking around another year.

Heidi Mather said she received $1,500 for signing up to become a UPK provider this year.

"I heard one provider explain it as she didn't want to fly the plane as they were building it, this year it's a little more pinned down," said Mather.

Mather decided to have three UPK spots, one still one.

"I wasn't ready to jump all in with two feet... there are providers that have 16 slots available and they only filled three," said Mather.

I reached out to El Paso County's local coordinating office, Joint Initiatives, for several days trying to get answers. Called, emailed, and even walked into the office; nothing. I never got a hold of who I needed to talk.

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