The Georgia House has passed a state spending plan that trims many government agencies, but largely insulates public schools from cuts.

The 159-15 vote sends the $40.9 billion state and federal budget to the Senate.   

House members endorsed Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to spend more to extend pre-kindergarten from 170 days to 180 days. They also followed Deal’s recommendation to add money for HOPE grants. That will allow a reduction for academic requirements for technical college scholarships.

The chamber broke from Deal, however, by declining to cut $2.6 million in special grants for small, mostly rural schools.

The budget also assumes that Georgia hospitals will continue to pay an industry tax to help finance the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled.

Fiscal 2014 begins July 1.

 

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