FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky lawmakers advanced a last-minute spending plan Tuesday that would pump money into full-day kindergarten as big-ticket budget items surfaced on the final day of the legislative session.
The spending proposal won Senate passage on a bipartisan 36-1 vote soon after it was advanced by a committee. The measure now goes to the House.
The proposal includes $140 million in state funds for full-day kindergarten
Kentucky’s school districts now get state funding for half-day kindergarten, with districts using local taxpayer money to pay for full-day services.
The spending plan also includes Gov. Andy Beshear’s proposal to use $575 million in federal pandemic aid to repay a federal loan that kept the state’s unemployment insurance program afloat. The program faced an unprecedented surge in jobless claims last year due to COVID-19.
The bill adds another $50 million in federal money for broadband expansion. Lawmakers already have allocated $250 million of federal aid to extend broadband service to underserved areas.
State government in Kentucky is expected to eventually receive about $2.4 billion in federal pandemic aid. The governor and legislative leaders have been trying to hash out a plan to spend at least portions of the federal aid before the session ends.