ND House and Senate Vote on Pre-K & Daycare Bills - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

ND House and Senate Vote on Pre-K & Daycare Bills

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Bismarck, ND -

The North Dakota House has voted down a bill to fund preschool programs.

House Bill 1356 was killed by a vote of 34-59.

The bill was to have $2.6 million in grants available for schools interested in providing a pre-k program for three and four year olds.

47 schools districts in the state currently have early education programs.

Bismarck Representative Mike Nathe says schools can continue to use local tax dollars to fund pre-k programs.

Meanwhile, the Senate has given it's approval to sending financial help to licensed daycare centers.

Senators passed House Bill 1422 38-9 this afternoon.

The bill includes $6 million in grants to licensed child care centers to stabilize centers and to recruit and retain employees.

It also expands the number of kids allowed in a center from 18 to 24.

The bill originally included $15 million.

The bill is the result of numerous meetings held around the state prior to the legislative session that revealed daycare was the top concern of residents.

There are not enough daycare facilities to meet the needs, especially in western North Dakota.

In addition, several childcare centers are facing closures because they can't find enough workers.

Senator Judy Lee says another idea of giving a tax credit to businesses who provide childcare for employees is being addressed in a separate bill.

The bill returns to the House for it's consideration.

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