Resolution in Opposition of Denver Initiated Ordinance 304

WHEREAS, the mission of the Denver Preschool Program (DPP) is to help Denver fulfill its commitment to its youngest learners. We champion, fund and increase access to quality preschool across our community; and

WHEREAS, the financial impact of Initiative 304 on DPP would be a loss of nearly $2 million dollars in sales tax revenue each year. A reduction of this scale could result in DPP pulling back important programming to more deeply and equitably support Denver’s youngest learners who need it most; and

WHEREAS, the 260 Denver schools supported by Denver Preschool Program are still in the long process of recovering and rebuilding from the devastating impacts the COVID-19 pandemic had on their finances. Most depend on Denver Preschool Program funding to be able to serve children in our community; and

WHEREAS, families are hurting financially and depend on Denver Preschool Program support to pay for the cost of their child’s early childhood education so that they are able to go back to school and work.; and

WHEREAS, ongoing reductions to the City’s sales tax, general fund and overall budget will adversely impact the community during this time of recovery; and

WHEREAS, Denver voters have approved numerous ballot measures to increase the local sales tax for important needs including support for those experiencing homelessness, parks and open space, mental health, preschool education, and more; and

WHEREAS, the resources and budget process of the City should be utilized as much as possible to align with priority community needs so that additional sales tax increases and associated citizen led initiatives are not needed for dedicated uses; and

WHEREAS, a reduction in the local sales tax as proposed in Initiated Ordinance 304 could result in both fewer preschool options available to Denver families, and fewer families being able to access high-quality preschool due to financial constraints;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of Denver Preschool Program opposes Initiated Ordinance 304 on Denver’s November 2021 ballot because of the significant harm these budget cuts to early education funding would cause to Denver children and families. We believe that every child in Denver has the right to enter kindergarten ready to reach their full potential, and Denver voters have shown that they endorse that belief by authorizing and reauthorizing early education funding through 2026.