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House Passes Bill for Optional Kindergarten

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House has approved a bill to cancel an earlier requirement that schools offer full-day kindergarten programs.

The House passed the bill by freshman Republican Rep. Jason Smalley of Stroud on an 85-9 vote Monday. It would make all-day kindergarten programs optional and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

If it doesn't pass, school districts would be required to operate full-day kindergarten starting next academic year.

Some Democratic representatives say the bill would hurt the early education of a state already struggling with its educational ranking.

Smalley and other supporters, including some Democrats, say making kindergarten optional instead of requiring it would let school districts access federal funding to pay the kindergarten teachers.