COLUMBIA - The South Carolina Senate has rejected an effort to make aid to local government a higher budget priority than expanding 4-year-old kindergarten.

The 29-13 vote on Wednesday killed a proposal by Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin of Pickens. He wanted to restore $16 million to local government by taking it off a surplus funding list and putting money proposed for expanding full-day 4K on it.

But senators opted to keep all $24 million to educate more at-risk 4-year-olds in the regular budget.

Martin argued the Legislature should fund its obligations before an expansion.

Opponents said helping more poor children succeed in school should be the priority.

Senators believe both items will eventually be funded. The surplus list gets funded if the state collects more revenue than currently projected.