Both sides debate use of early childhood fund for K-12 education

| October 21, 2015

By Howard Fischer • Capitol Media Services

Board members of a voter-approved organization that funds programs to promote early childhood development are fighting a plan by legislative leaders to raid its dollars to instead increase aid for K-12 education.

Nadine Basha, who chairs the board of First Things First, acknowledged it has more than $360 million in the bank. The proceeds come from an 80-cent-a-pack tax on cigarettes.

But Basha said the money already is spoken for. And she vowed to fight the proposed legislative raid which would have to be approved by voters.

The fight comes as Republican legislative leaders say they can add $500 million a year in funding for public education. That plan uses a combination of existing tax dollars, some money from the state land trust, and taking money from First Things First.

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Category: Education

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