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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

House Dems Fail To Restore Funding For Gov's Pre-School Program

Courtesy Photo
Gov. Bullock reading to school kids.

Among the dozens of amendments that Democrats sponsored to add spending to the $10 billion state budget, was one to enact the Governor’s $37 million pre-school plan.

The Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee stripped it out of the budget bill over a week ago, but the Democratic minority tried to convince the whole House to put it back in.

Missoula Democrat Nancy Wilson says as the world gets more complicated, kids need to start learning earlier.

"There is so much more for them to pay attention to than we did when we were reading Dick and Jane.  So please help our young people get a start on this world so they can compete with the rest of the people in this world."

Republican Bill Harris questioned why preschool was needed when Montana’s high school graduates score among the highest in the nation in college-entrance exams.

“Now we’re being told, even though we lead the nation, we should follow the models of states that have inferior results and I don’t think that that’s where we need to go."

In the end, the pre-school amendment fared no better than any of the sixty Democratic amendments that came before it, failing on a party-line vote, 41-to-59.  The state budget faces final approval in the House before going to the State Senate, for another round of hearings and amendments in the coming weeks. 

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