Report: Colorado’s Child Care, Pre-K Workers Are Underpaid

A new report says leaders and teachers in child care and preschool are not fairly compensated in Colorado.

Qualistar Colorado and The Women’s Foundation of Colorado surveyed nearly 500 leaders of child care centers and public preschools. They earn an average of $41,000 a year, the survey found.

Qualistar’s Stacy Howard says the bosses are underpaid for the responsibilities they have.

“Food service managers can earn up to $60,000 a year for similar management and operational responsibilities without a direct impact on families and children,” Howard said.

Howard says qualified people are hard to recruit and retain.

“Both of these are costly not only to the business but also more importantly to the children," Howard said. "Children thrive with secure attached relationships. An interruption in these relationships can negatively impact their wellbeing.”

The report says the vast majority of early education teachers earn between $10 and $15 an hour -- or roughly $21,000 and $31,000 a year. Howard said the top-paid teachers are in Adams County and they barely make enough to meet basic needs such as housing, child care and food.