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Politics & Government

Senate passes "pre-K" bill

A bill to provide some funding for pre-kindergarten education has passed in the Senate.

The measure provides $6 million for grants. Children under 5 who attend programs approved by the Department of Public Instruction could receive $1000 to attend pre-K classes. Low income children could receive $1500.

Supporters say it’s a step in the right direction.

"It's going to pay off in the lomg run, in terms of special education costs," said Sen. Nichole Poolman (R-Bismarck), a long time supporter of pre-K education. "And it is going to insure that our kids who many times have been up to two years behind -- it's going to allow them to come into school prepared, and feeling like school is a good place for them."

Sen. Terry Wanzek (R-Jamestown) questioned whether state funding for pre-K education is a good idea.

"At what point does it become the taxpayers' responsibility rather than the parents' repsonsibility?" asked Wanzek.

The bill passed 33 to 14. Another bill that would have had the state fully fund pre-K failed. Those who spoke against that bill said the state needs to take baby steps – and can come back in two years to see if the program should be expanded.

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