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Idaho lawmakers end the session with $6 million in federal funds for pre-K on the table

The $6 million was approved by former President Donald Trump and some of Idaho's Republican congressional delegation supported using it. So what happened?

BOISE, Idaho — When the Idaho legislature ended their record-long session late Wednesday night, they left some unfinished business to die, including Senate Bill 1193. For Assistant House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, "to just have them slap it away is unbelievable." 

SB 1193 would have approved the use of $6 million in federal funding for education, primarily expanding and making early childhood education available for Idahoans. The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, who advocated for the funding, said the money would go towards expanding mental health services in disadvantaged and rural areas of Idaho, updating and enhancing the state's childcare database and increasing childhood materials so kids are better ready for kindergarten.

The grant was approved by then-President Donald Trump and Idaho senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch trumpeted the funds, as did Governor Brad Little.

The Gem State is one of four states in the union that does not offer a public pre-K option for kids.

While the state legislature will likely reconvene later, Rep. Rubel (D-Boise) said there's no way to bring back the bill.

"The speaker was very unequivocal that it was dead as a doornail, that there was no imaginable way that there would be a vote on it, that no matter what people might hear from the senate or the media or some anybody else that there was no way he was going to allow a vote on it," she said.

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