Paying for pre-kindergarten education in North Dakota is a costly issue. From the beginning of the North Dakota legislative session, we knew pre-k could potentially funded by the state. While an earlier proposal failed, another bill is working it’s way through the legislature. It passed the senate with $6 million dollars in funding but in the house as it passed with two votes, they were only willing to provide $3 million in state funding. Valley News Live travelled to Bismarck to investigate why the funding was cut.
The house and senate have different opinion when it comes to pre-k funding. The house only wants to give money to the low income families.
“The house version only funds low income families, where are the senate version allowed all families to access early childhood education,” said democrat Rep. Joshua Boschee of Fargo.
The pre-k bill would allow families to apply for the state funding. House majority leader Al Carlson says there is a mixed reaction whether the state of North Dakota should be involved in funding pre-k.
“I did the best I could in the house to get it to the people that need it, the lower income level,” said republican Rep. Al Carlson of Fargo.
Valley News Live asked the house majority leader on why only provide to low income families.
“Call it what you want, They are starting voucher for pre-k for $1,000 and $1,500 toward the cost. Personally I am not a fan of going down to the 3-4 year old level with school funding and we have significant issues to deal with K-12,” said Carlson.
State Senator Philip Murphy, who sponsored the senate version says he is sad to see the house cut the funding and see it only benefit certain people.
“I think 44 states use state funding to some degree. It is time that we get on board so we can be competitive. Out kids need to be able to compete,” said democrat Senator Philip Murphy of Portland, North Dakota.
The bill is still being discussed in committee, so there’s still time to contact lawmakers and give them your opinion. We have a link to the legislature website to the right. The bill has been apprived by the department of Instruction already and they would be the department to allocate the funding.