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CPP and Community Partners

Emphasis on a Mixed Delivery System

School districts may provide CPP services in three ways:

  1. The district may provide all services in school district operated preschools (e.g. typically district early childhood centers, or existing elementary schools.) Special education, CPP, Title I funds, private tuition, etc.can be used in coordination to operate these services. 
  2. The district may contract out its entire program to community providers (e.g. Head Start or private child care facilities) with proper support and monitoring. 
  3. The district may use a combination of district and community providers. 

CDE is authorized to give funding priority to those districts that place children funded by CPP/ECARE in high-quality community sites including Head Start programs.  The CPP Act places significant emphasis on using existing and established Head Start and community early childhood programs, where available when deciding where to serve children funded by CPP/ECARE (22-28-109 C.R.S.). 

Participation in CPP has often served as a catalyst for bringing public and private programs together to offer parents more and better choices. For example, working parents may need the wrap-around child care services a private child care center can provide or the convenience of being able to drop off infants and toddlers at the same time as preschool-aged children in a center located in their neighborhood. Having this option to serve the child in one location without transitioning to another program supports continuity of care for young children who are at-risk.  It also permits broader participation in quality improvement activities such as professional development offered through the CPP program.

School districts and their DACs have the freedom to decide locally who is best qualified to deliver CPP services. It is important that local councils use available quality data such as Colorado Shines, as well as the Quality Standards when making decisions about a program’s ability to provide high-quality CPP services. 

As the DAC designs a process for identifying, choosing, and partnering with contracted providers, it is important to utilize the experience and expertise of existing early childhood programs in the community to the maximum extent possible. Involvement in CPP can be viewed as a way to enhance the quality of services for all children by expanding the use of Quality Standards. Every effort should be made to make all current community providers aware of CPP and the possibility of their participation. Current licensed providers often have achieved high ratings in Colorado Shines or through professional accrediting organizations such as NAEYC, indicating that they invest a great deal of time and effort into developing high-quality services. 

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Request for Proposals (RFP) to Community Providers

A major responsibility of the district preschool advisory council is to develop a process that allows community early childhood programs to apply for the opportunity to deliver CPP/ECARE services. One step in this process is to develop and issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the community (4.09 CCR). School districts are required to send out RFPs at least once every two years to assess how alternative community providers may meet their standards for delivering high-quality services.

RFPs should be issued in the late winter or early spring to allow for a process that is accessible to existing programs. Applicants should have at least 45 days from the date the RFP was released in order to prepare and submit a proposal. The DAC reviews proposals and makes funding recommendations to the local school board. The school board then makes the final decision on who will provide CPP services (4.10 CCR). The intention of the law is to establish a fair, competitive process in which decisions are made at the local level. 

General guidelines for the RFP process:

  • A process for delivering the RFP announcement to providers within the geographical boundaries of the district. 
  • A public announcement method should be established to notify the community of the potential for partnership.
  • Providers in contracted sites need sufficient lead time in order to plan with confidence. Ideally, District Advisory Councils would make their decisions and notify contractors before the end of the previous school year
  • When allocating CPP/ECARE positions to participating sites, DACs should consider the total number of positions available, the number of families selecting certain sites or types of programs, and the quality and individual needs of community partner programs
  • All sites serving CPP/ECARE, including public school preschool sites, must be licensed by the Colorado Department of Human Services (Note that this does not exclude early childhood programs located on tribal lands from participation in CPP. Such programs follow child care licensing guidelines as required by local tribal governments.) 
  • DACs should make every effort to identify sites that are able to provide full-day, full-year services to meet the needs of working parents
  • Families should be provided with updated information regarding the number and location of contracted sites each year and should be provided opportunities to visit the program prior to selection

Compensating Community Partners

Each district that contracts with community providers for program services is responsible for negotiating the rates that it will pay to the providers and ensuring that money provided for the Colorado Preschool Program is used for services connected to CPP. CDE advises that at least 85% of the per-pupil funds for the number of children to be served by the partner site should be flowed to the provider to help offset the costs of providing a quality program as defined by CPP and the Quality Standards. Differences from this proportion of per-pupil funds flowed to partner programs must be documented and justified by the actual costs of providing the comprehensive services expected, including costs in addition to the actual tuition for activities such as developmental screening, materials, professional learning, family support, etc. Information considered to set contracted rates should include actual costs data, tuition charged to non-CPP families, market rate data, administrative costs incurred by the district (if any).

In addition to the contracted rate paid to providers for day-to-day programming, many districts also provide funding to providers for the following direct program services:

  • Child identification/Assessment or developmental screenings
  • Home language/Literacy materials
  • Professional development opportunities/Conference registrations/In-service training
  • Parent liaison/family support services/service coordination for children and families
  • A monthly newsletter to families to extend learning activities and parenting ideas into the home
  • Classroom equipment and materials

 

Monitoring Community Partner Programs for Quality

School districts should monitor community partner sites using the same method that is used to monitor school district preschool classrooms. CPP statute requires a minimum of two classroom visits to be conducted by district preschool advisory council members each year.  

 

Faith-Based Programs

School districts should consult with their in-house legal counsel regarding Sections 7 and 8 of Article IX of the Constitution of the State of Colorado as it applies to contract district services out to a community partner program. 

Section 7 states:

“Neither the general assembly, nor any county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation, shall ever make any appropriation or pay from any public fund or monies whatsoever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian society, or for any sectarian purpose, or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary, college, university or other literary or scientific institution, controlled by any church or sectarian denomination whatsoever; nor shall any grant or donation of land, money or other personal property every be made by the state, or any such public corporation to any church for any sectarian purpose.”

Section 8 states:

“No sectarian tenets or doctrines shall ever be taught in the public school.”