Keno-Funded Kindergarten Plan Wins Committee Backing In House

May 24, 2017

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The House finance committee has given its unanimous backing to a full-day kindergarten proposal tied to the lottery game Keno.

Under the bill, the state would send school districts that have full-day kindergarten an extra $1100 per pupil starting in 2019.

The bill would also authorize cities and towns to allow Keno. The state's take from the video lottery game would be deposited in the state's education trust fund. The account the new Kindergarten aid would be drawn from. Neal Kurk is chairman of the House Finance Committee.

“We are bringing in the Keno money but it’s not dedicated, so the two are not directly connected but we believe there will be enough money from Keno to pay for the expanded Kindergarten.”

The State senate has already voted to spend $9 million a year to target state aid for full-day Kindergarten. It’s never supported Keno. But according to senate president Chuck Morse linking KENO and kindergarten isn't necessarily a deal breaker.

"Keno in the senate has had a tough fight every time, but the senate supports kindergarten and how we fund it will be looked at down the road."  

The bill tying kindergarten aid to Keno will head to the House floor next week.