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Full-day kindergarten programs will remain free of charge at the Utah schools that offer it.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that was to have allowed schools to charge a fee to families who enroll their children in supplemental kindergarten hours.

Ogden Republican Sen. Ann Millner, the bill's Senate sponsor, said Utah's full-day kindergarten programs are often limited to Title 1 schools, with a large number of low-income children.

She said her bill would allow districts to expand their kindergarten programs by recouping some costs from parents willing to pay to enroll their children.

"This bill doesn't provide day care. It doesn't provide preschool," she said. "It really is a rigorous, academic, kindergarten program."

But several lawmakers expressed concerns about charging fees for the state's public education system, and the competition the bill would create with education providers in the private sector.

The Senate voted 14-11 for the bill, with four senators absent, which halts the bill's progress but also leaves open the potential for reconsideration.

Another proposal currently making its way through the Legislature would also expand full-day kindergarten through a $10 million increase in state funding.

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