House Dems aim to bring back full-day K

This Wednesday, the House Finance Committee is expected to present its budget to the full House for a vote. That budget doesn’t include the proposal for full-day kindergarten funding proposed by Governor Sununu. House Minority Leader, Steve Shurtleff, says that could change: they will present an amendment that includes the funding, reported NH1 News

Last week, the Senate passed a bill that creates the targeted funding program for full-day kindergarten, after tabling it in March. The House’s amendment would fund the bill through the budget:

House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff vows he’ll introduce an amendment to “bring back full-day kindergarten” when the budget passed by the House finance committee will be voted on… Wednesday by the full chamber.

“The House Democrats will be bringing in an amendment to bring back full-day kindergarten,” the top Democrat in the House said on the latest edition of NH1 Newsmakers. “We think it’s good for New Hampshire, we think it’s something that should be done.”

House Majority Leader Dick Hinch said that even though the House Finance Committee cut the program out of the budget, nothing is final:

…He didn’t totally write off the funding, saying “kindergarten or any other program that was in the governor’s original proposal is by no means dead. It may not be in the current budget but there will still be conversations about it as it goes through the process next week and as it goes through the Senate.”

“I would say at this point nothing is a done deal in the budget at this point,” he added.

House Republicans have been opposed to funding full-day kindergarten programs, citing them as an “expansion of government:”

“Republicans I think look at the fact that that’s another expansion of government,” House Speaker Shawn Jasper told NHPR on Tuesday.

And he questioned the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten, adding that “there is a lot of learning that goes on there, a lot of socialization, but at that age, most children are not going to be able to be fully engaged for a full day.”

Governor Sununu has been a strong advocate of full-day kindergarten, saying it’s “absolutely necessary:”

“The rest of the country has taken this step. It’s time that New Hampshire step up and move forward with something that probably should have been done a long time ago,” Sununu added.

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