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Local Motion: The state's new PreK program and Unify Montrose aim to solve childcare desert

Pamona Elementary is located in Montrose, Colorado.
Cassie Knust
Pamona Elementary is located in Montrose, Colorado.

In this Local Motion we a look at early childhood education in our community. The state of Colorado has just rolled out a new universal preschool program, but there are not enough providers in our community. This is part of the overall childcare crisis that exists here in our community.

This is also something that Unify Montrose has been looking at.

Unified Montrose is a partnership between the city of Montrose and Unified America, aiming to solve local issues through community collaboration. Their initial focus in Montrose is on addressing the childcare crisis, driven by a shortage of licensed spots compared to the number of children needing care.

With over 2,600 children under the age of six and 70% of their parents in the workforce, the shortage has widespread effects, impacting healthcare, infrastructure and quality of life. The initiative, funded by Harry Nathan Gottlieb, founder of jackbox games, emphasizes a non-partisan approach and encourages community involvement to develop solutions to what the City of Montrose penned a “childcare desert.”

KVNF's Cassie Knust spoke with Alex Gibson, the head of Unify Montrose, as well as Penny Harris and Matt Jenkins of Montrose County School District to discuss these issues.

Cassie moved to Montrose from Texas in April 2020, right before COVID changed the landscape of the world as we knew it. She brought her love of people and a degree in broadcast journalism to the Western Slope, where she built a strong foundation in local print news. She’s excited to join the KVNF family and grow as a reporter. For Cassie, her job as a journalist is to empower the community through knowledge and information. When she’s not researching and reporting, Cassie loves to spend time with her cat, Jasper, and paint something new.<br/><br/>