Governor's Budget Has No Pre-School Extras, Focuses on School Buildings

NOVEMBER 23, 2004 - Posted at 4:46 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Legislators had planned to expand preschool programs with money from the Public School Fund, but delayed discussions this morning when they heard Governor Mike Huckabee's plan for school building improvements.

Huckabee did not include extra money for preschool programs despite a push to expand early childhood education.

The governor's $4.5 billion Public School Fund was scheduled for presentation at budget hearings today.

Legislators had added money from a $370 million tax increase to expand preschool, but Huckabee's budget didn't include it.  It proposes hefty increases in higher education, human services and prisons.  It also has more money for English-language learning, but not for preschool.

Today, the Huckabee administration proposed to divert money from teacher salaries to school improvements.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)