The hope of four-year-old kindergarten in Madison schools stayed alive early Thursday as Assembly Democrats pushed through a $500,000 start-up grant for the district as part of the state budget bill.
But even with that money, the challenges to offering the program remain great as the district could face an $8 million cut in its state aid, or 13 percent, under one new estimate of the effect of state budget cuts on Madison schools.
And Republicans criticized the grant money to the district as an earmark that comes at a time when schools statewide are having their funding cut.
“Any funding that can help mitigate the (four-year-old kindergarten) costs in the first two years is very helpful,” said Madison Schools superintendent Dan Nerad. “We’re very pleased with the proposal that’s been advanced.”