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Funding and Pupil Count

General Funding Information

The General Assembly authorizes funding for CPP as part of the Public School Finance Act at an individual district rate determined through the school finance formula.  Each half-day CPP/ECARE position allocated to the district is funded at 0.5 FTE of each district’s per-pupil revenue rate.  Total district CPP funding is calculated as:

CPP/ECARE FTE in Final Fall Pupil Count

District PPR =

Total CPP/ECARE Funding

Per pupil funding to school districts varies across the state. The variances in funding are based on the school finance formula which recognizes (a) costs of living, (b) personnel costs and (c) size factors. CPP funding is provided to school districts as part of the K-12 funding. 

Districts are paid monthly, but the first five months of the school year are based on projected numbers (e.g. the reported pupil count last year). December is the first month districts receive funding based on actual, current, count data. In other words, if a district receives additional positions before (during an expansion year) or during the count (temporary additional positions granted), the initial funding a school receives for September, October, and November will be based on the allocations from last year. Beginning in December, the payment will include the new allocations based on what was reported on Count Day (traditional or alternative, whichever the district chooses to use).

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Student October Count

Student October is meant to be a snapshot in time that gives a general overview of education in Colorado. Data collected in Student October is used to determine district funding, therefore, accuracy is paramount. CDE wants to ensure that districts receive the correct amount of funding so all student-level data reported in this data submission should reflect what was true as of the pupil enrollment count date. Therefore, children should be reported at the school they actually attend.  Students funded with CPP/ECARE or PK SPED positions should have a valid school code, either public or non-public

In order to be funded, children eligible for state-funded preschool must be at least three years old as of October 1 (or by the school district kindergarten cut-off date, whichever comes first), not kindergarten-eligible, and meet eligibility criteria in order for the school district to count these preschool children for funding.  Children who do not meet the fall count requirements or who are otherwise excluded from the fall count will not be funded.

Did you know? Any child who receives CPP funding is considered a school district student, even if they are served through a community provider.

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Pupil Enrollment Count Period

The preschool through twelfth-grade pupil count process takes place on October 1 of each year, unless that date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or major religious holiday. If the pupil enrollment count date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or major religious holiday, the pupil enrollment count date will be the following school day. Determination of the pupil enrollment count date will not be affected by a district’s decision to not have school on the pupil enrollment count date, including districts with a four-day week calendar. 

In order to be eligible to be included in the Student October count/alternate count, a child funded by CPP/ECARE or preschool special education, the child has a schedule provided by the program (as of the pupil enrollment count date or the alternative count date) which provides at least 90 hours of teacher-child instruction and teacher-child contact in the semester of the pupil enrollment count date or the alternative count date. (2254-R-5.10 and 5.11, Rules for the Administration of the Public School Finance Act of 1994).​
Please note: This is a minimum number of hours of service to qualify a child for these funding sources; it is not intended to set a standard of appropriate service.

The 11-day pupil enrollment count period refers to the five school days before and the five school days after the pupil enrollment count date based on the district’s adopted calendar. If the district allows different calendars for schools or programs, the 11-day pupil enrollment count period is tied to the district’s adopted calendar unless the district requests an alternative (1) pupil enrollment count date or (2) pupil enrollment count period. 

Districts are required to provide, at a minimum, attendance for each student that includes the entire 11-day count period. For districts using an alternative count date, the 11-day count period will adjust accordingly

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Preschool Alternative Count Date

Programs are also strongly encouraged to use the preschool alternative count date of November 1 (or the nearest school day).   They can choose to finalize whichever count provides higher funding by recreating their snapshot in the data pipeline. The General Assembly made this option possible to ensure that early childhood programs are able to access maximum funding.  It can be difficult to have a complete count in early October due to the extra time it often takes to determine eligibility for the program and to back-fill CPP positions that may have been vacated. Historically, this resulted in districts serving a large number of children without funding.  Using the November count gives the district the option of finalizing the highest count. Please be sure to indicate which date you will be using in the data pipeline prior to the collection date.

When using this alternative count date please consider the following information:

  • School districts must finalize the same count date for both CPP and preschool special education. 
  • Districts may use either their October 1 count data or their November 1 count data, whichever is higher.
    • Even if using November 1 count date, early childhood count information should be included in the October 1 collection.
    • School districts are encouraged to track changes on a regular basis from October 1 to November 1, so changes can be made following verification of the November 1 count. 
  • In the final approval of the October count data submission, your district will be asked to identify whether you are using the October 1 count or the alternate count date of November 1 for early childhood.
  • Any child who has left the district prior to November 1 or was counted in another district's October Count cannot be counted (see Duplicate Count for more information).

  • Just like October Count:
    • Children can only be counted if they are enrolled and in attendance on or before November 1.
    • The number of hours scheduled for the Colorado Preschool Program should be no fewer than 360 hours in the course of the school year..
    • Districts must still document each child’s attendance five school days prior to and five school days following the alternative count date.

Can't decide which
date to use? 

Count for October 1
and November 1

Choose the one with
the greater funding


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Duplicate Counts

Duplicate counts were identified within the October count when CDE began assigning SASIDs (State Assigned Student ID Numbers) to students included in the October count. Each year, CDE pauses the count process prior to finalization in order to check for instances when children have been counted twice.  

A number of these duplications occurred in preschool, oftentimes for two reasons:

  • School districts using early childhood alternative count dates.
    • Early childhood alternate count dates of November 2 are available to all school districts.
    • School districts who use an alternative count date should not assume that children enrolling in preschool have not already been enrolled in another school district.
  • Parents enrolling children concurrently in two different school districts.
    • Example 1: A child was attending A.M. preschool in one district and P.M. preschool in another district.
    • Example 2: A child attends A.M. preschool in one district and an online charter school for P.M. preschool or kindergarten.

A district that counts a child on October 1 will have priority over a district that includes a child in a later alternative count.

  • School districts should also be careful when enrolling children living outside their school district.
  • When a duplicate count is identified, the child’s district of residence will have first priority for including the child in their October count for funding

To help reduce duplicate counts resulting from dual enrollment, districts may want to indicate in their preschool enrollment information the following statement:

“If a family enrolls a child in preschool in two different school districts at the same time they are responsible for paying tuition to one of the districts.”

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What CPP Records Must Be Kept for the Early Childhood Count

A school district will need to have the following information available in their administrative office for CDE auditors to review:

  • Attendance records for all students.
    • If the pupil is absent on the count day, additional attendance records are required to establish attendance prior to the official count date in the current school year and after the count date.
    • The pupil must resume attendance within 30 calendar days of Oct. 1 in order to be counted.
  • Records must also verify each student is scheduled for at least 90 hours of pupil-teacher contact in the semester of the official count day.
  • Districts that contract with Head Start or a community early childhood program must provide evidence of a purchase agreement between the district and the outside agency.

At a minimum, school districts should retain these records for five years or until they have been audited by the CDE Audit Unit.

Full-Day Preschool

The majority of students are counted as half-day pupils (0.5 FTE). A program may create full-day preschool opportunities by combining two half-day positions, so long as the child will meet the service hour requirements. The full-day opportunity must be provided in the same program. In other words, the full-day position may not be split between two programs or to serve a child in two part-day programs (2254-R-5.10 (2)(a)).  As a reminder, CPP is not a universal preschool funding source. Full-day allocations are intended to provide a more comprehensive preschool experience for the children in your program who are most at-risk. Districts should use their resources to serve as many eligible children as possible and limit the use of combined positions for children with the highest needs and no other opportunity for full-day programming.  This option should not be seen as a solution for the lack of district supported transportation for preschoolers or a way to fill unused CPP position.  If a school district is unable to use all of its CPP positions, there is a process for temporarily reallocating unused positions so that additional children at-risk have an opportunity for a preschool experience.

Each child that is approved to be served in a full-day preschool program will use two preschool positions out of the school district's total preschool allocation. Under no circumstances will a school district be allowed to exceed their preschool allocation.

There are a few ways districts can utilize their positions in order to create a full-day experience:

Two CPP Positions

The Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) Act allows school districts to apply to CDE for authorization to serve a single child in preschool using two CPP positions to fund a full-day program. Districts interested in combining two CPP positions must apply to CDE in order to use this combination. The statute specifies that CPP may only serve 5% eligible preschoolers statewide in this way (C.R.S. 22-28-104(4)(b)). Please note, the 5% is equal to 1008 children statewide. Therefore, no more than 1008 children can be served with two CPP positions. If your district has ECARE positions, it may be wise to consider other combinations before combining CPP positions in order to be equitable to districts only utilizing CPP positions.  

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Two ECARE Positions

HB 19-1262 makes changes to ECARE positions that until now have been able to be used to fund half-day preschool, combined for full-day preschool, or to provide full-day kindergarten. 

(C.R.S. 22-28-104.3)(b) For the 2019-20 budget year and each budget year thereafter, the Department shall not allocate to a district, and a district shall not use, a preschool program position to enroll a child in a full day of the district’s full-day kindergarten educational program. 

Two of the ECARE-type of CPP positions can be combined to provide a full-day opportunity for an eligible child (C.R.S. 22-28-104.3). This combination does not need CDE approval. The school district should notify CDE if there are changes in their planned usage of ECARE positions prior to submitting their final student census on either October 1 or November 1. 

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One CPP Position and One ECARE Position

This combination does not require CDE approval. Beginning 2019-2020 school year, CDE will allow districts to combine a half-day CPP position and a half-day ECARE position to create a full-day opportunity. You must have ECARE in order to use this option. Please note: this combination lowers the available half-day positions in a school district's remaining CPP and ECARE allocation.

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One CPP Position and One Preschool Special Education PPR

CPP funding is intended to provide preschool for children who are at-risk for academic failure. This funding is not intended to solely fund a district or contracted program’s entire preschool or classroom. Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, CPP funding may be combined with the preschool special education PPR to support a child with disabilities for full-day preschool. CPP funding cannot be the sole funding source for a child with disabilities in a full-day program. The child on an IEP must also meet CPP eligibility requirements and be considered a child with the highest needs. This combination does not need CDE approval.

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Use of CPP Funds

Funding provided to school districts for CPP shall only be used to meet the costs of providing preschool services directly to children enrolled in each school district’s program (22-28-108 (5.5) C.R.S.).  Allowable expenses for the program include:

  • Teacher and paraprofessional salaries and benefits
  • Supplies and materials
  • Expenses associated with home visits
  • The entire cost of any preschool program contracted services
  • Services provided by a district to children enrolled in CPP or their families
  • Associated professional development activities
  • Costs that a district would not have incurred without the services provided in conjunction with the preschool program
  • A reasonable allocation of district overhead costs, which should not exceed five percent (5%) of the total CPP funding provided to the district. 

In determining overhead costs, districts may use their restricted indirect cost rate as long as it does not exceed 5%. Any overhead costs, OBJ code 0868, claimed by a district that exceeds CDE’s calculation of restricted indirect cost rates for local education agencies (LEAs) must be verifiable. 

Expenditures of CPP funds shall only include costs that a district would not have incurred without the services provided in conjunction with the preschool program. (22-28-108 5.5 C.R.S.) Districts must be able to document that CPP expenditures are a direct cost of the Colorado Preschool Program. For instance, if transportation expenses are paid for with CPP funds, districts must be able to document that bus routes were added or extended to serve children funded by CPP. 

Districts receiving CPP funding must track the use of those funds. Districts can use Grant code 3141 in Fund 10 to identify the revenues and expenditures for the preschool program funded through the Colorado Preschool Program.  Fund 19 will also be available to a district to identify the CPP revenues and expenditures. 

The majority of CPP funds are expected to be expended each year to provide a high-quality early childhood program. If all of the money provided for CPP is not expended by the end of the school year, districts must carry over any remaining money to the next fiscal year. Account 6724 has been established in the Chart of Accounts to identify Colorado Preschool Program Reserve funds. CDE recommends that districts carrying over more than 15% of the CPP funds provide a detailed plan for spend-down. In addition, districts with large carryover balances may score lower on competitive applications for additional positions during an expansion of CPP/ECARE. 

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