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Pre-K funding bill fails in the Idaho Legislature

Posted at 2:26 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 10:43:14-05

BOISE, Idaho — Idahoans protested at the Capitol Wednesday night after the State Legislature voted down a bill that would help fund pre-schools programs across the state. The bill would have utilized a $6 million federal grant that Idaho received in January.

The State Board of Education and the Idaho Association of Young Children announced the grant back in January, with plans to build a mixed delivery system for parents with young children. Those plans are now on hold after House Republicans voted against approving the grant 36 to 34.

Governor Little expressed his disappointment but remained optimistic.

"The evidence is overwhelming that what we do for these kids early is something that's good for Idaho and good for our students," said Little. "We'll try again."

"In communities, you're seeing business leaders coming together with educational experts and community stakeholders to try to address our early learning challenges," said Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise. "And we have to keep that going, we can't pull the rug out from underneath them right now."

A vote for the bill to be reconsidered at a later time was also voted down, but there are plans to maybe bring this back later on in the legislative session.

According to our partners at the Idaho Statesman, Rep. Charlie Shepherd from Riggins apologized on the House floor after comments he made saying any bill that makes it easier or more convenient for mothers to come out of the home and let someone else raise their child is not a good direction for us to be going. He said his remarks were derogatory, offensive and even sexist to Idaho mothers.

The comments fueled some of the turnout at the protest with people carrying signs with slogans like "who let the moms out."