Senate backs early childhood grantsParents may be able to send their children to school earlier than kindergarten after a Senate vote Tuesday that runs counter to a committee recommendation.
By: By TJ Jerke, Forum News Service, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — Parents may be able to send their children to school earlier than kindergarten after a Senate vote Tuesday that runs counter to a committee recommendation.
Senate Bill 2229 passed through the chamber with a 35 to 12 vote.
The bill would appropriate $4.6 million to the Department of Public Instruction to create $100,000 grants to distribute to schools meeting certain criteria for early childhood programs.
The bill was passed to the floor with a do not pass recommendation by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Committee member Sen. Wanzek said early childhood programs are not needed.
“It’s my responsibility for my child to show up to school healthy and ready to learn, not the government’s responsibility.”
The Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, passed the bill out of committee unanimously.
“If we kill the bill, you won’t provide one ounce of improvement in parenting,” Flakoll said. “This is an optional program for parents, they decide to send their children to programs.”
The bill’s sponsor. Sen. Nicole Poolman, R-Bismarck, said the education committee recommended the bill unanimously because “evidence across North Dakota continues to point a high quality preschool education can make a difference in the lives of our poorest children,” she said.