By Kelly Werthmann

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A young mother in Fort Collins is praising Gov. Jared Polis for making free, full-day kindergarten the law of Colorado.

CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann interviews Kristina Peterson. (credit: CBS)

“He’s doing something great for our state,” Kristina Peterson, a mother of two, said, fighting back tears. “It makes me cry that he’s doing this for families that don’t have any other way to provide education.”

Peterson told CBS4 not only will the new law benefit her children’s education, it means she doesn’t have to worry about finding enough money to afford it.

(credit: CBS)

“We can use it for food. We can use it for school supplies,” she said.

When her older son, Nolan, was ready for kindergarten last year, Peterson wasn’t sure she could pay for it. She said tuition was nearly $3,000.

“That’s a lot of money,” she said. “That’s almost two months of rent.”

(credit: CBS) 

The single mother was also having heart surgery and couldn’t work. Peterson said she either had to pull Nolan out of school or pray she was selected for a scholarship.

“It required a lot of paperwork and there are only so many given,” Peterson said of the scholarships. “We were one of the lucky ones to get it.”

(credit: CBS)

Now Peterson doesn’t have to bank on luck. Her youngest son, Caden, is heading to full-day kindergarten next year with no questions asked.

“And for us it’s a blessing because it’s something I don’t have to worry about,” Peterson said.”

And, Peterson added, the new law will likely benefit many other families like hers across the state.

(credit: CBS)

“Our kids are getting the best education,” she explained. “I know we’re having problems with teacher pay, but this will increase a lot of good things.”

Kelly Werthmann