On Wednesday, June 17th, the Senate passed their version of the Wisconsin state budget with a vote of 17-16. The Senate budget makes two important early education funding changes to the Joint Finance Committee’s recommended budget. Neither of these changes were present in the Assembly budget. First, the Senate version allocates an additional $3,000,000 in 2010-2011 for 4-year-old Kindergarten start-up grants. Second, it limits the total number of hours a child can receive child care under Wisconsin Shares to 12 hours per day. Some exceptions can be made- with proper documentation- to extend this limit up to 16 hours per day.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau put together a helpful summary that compares the Senate and Assembly versions of the budget. You can read the document here. Once a committee is formed, leaders from the Senate and Assembly will be meeting to iron out differences in the two budget versions. The legislature hopes to pass a budget that can be signed into law by the Governor by July 1, 2009.