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Boldra returns to school





TOPEKA -- Sue Boldra, R-Hays, supports Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's proposal to eventually spend $80 million per year to fund all-day kindergarten for Kansas children who attend public schools.

"I hope we can do it; he thinks we can," Boldra, representative for the 111th district in the state Legislature, said Monday.

On Friday, Boldra was appointed to a House special committee to look at the issue. She is one of seven Republicans on the committee, joined by two Democrats.

"I hope we come out with a very reasoned decision. Of course, as an educator, I think it's great," she said. "But again, that's my first gut reaction. Let's listen to the testimony, see what people have to say."

According to an Associated Press report, all but approximately 15 of the state's 286 school districts provide all-day kindergarten, including Hays USD 489.

The AP report said most districts use the money they receive from the state for at-risk students to pay for it. Approximately 20 districts charge parents per semester for kindergarten.

"I think we have to do everything we can do if we're going to educate every Kansan," Boldra said.

Brownback's proposal would have the Legislature provide $16 million in additional funding each year for five years. The proposal would boost funding by $16 million the first year, $32 million the second year, $48 million the third year, $64 million the fourth year and $80 million in year five.

"That's something we're going to have to decide," Boldra said, adding the Legislature also is waiting for a state court decision on school finance, which could have an effect on what lawmakers do in the session.

"For me, it's money well-spent," Boldra said. "Especially if we start with $16 million in the first year, and then it grows, as our economy grows.

"I think education really is one of those public-will kind of issues. There are some things we really need to support. Education is one of them."