The House gave an initial green light Thursday to more money for full-day kindergarten, marking success for one of Gov. Chris Sununu’s top initiatives and revealing yet another divide among Republicans.
Just 87 Republicans joined with Democrats in backing the measure, which promises to give full funding to any school district that adopts full-day kindergarten. Nearly 75 percent of New Hampshire communities already offer it, but the state only pays half the normal per-student amount for kindergartners.
“This bill is not mandating that everybody have a full-day kindergarten program,” Republican Rep. Rick Ladd said as he implored his colleagues to back the measure. “It is a local choice bill where you have the option as a community to decide which way you’re going to go.”
Sununu has pushed funding full-day kindergarten as a key to attracting more businesses and workers to New Hampshire and relieving young parents of worrying about child care. But other Republicans argued the bill is a misuse of state money and will remove control from parents and local schools.