Minnesota House Passes $900M Increase To Education Budget
ST. PAUL–The Minnesota House passed its education omnibus bill, which includes $900 million in new spending on public education.
“Students shouldn’t be denied the support they need to succeed because their schools are suffering from chronic underfunding,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “The bill passed by the Minnesota House will go a long way toward giving every student, no matter where they were born or what they look like, the freedom to go as far as their talent and hard work will take them.”
Specht noted the bill would pay for thousands of children to attend preschool and expand full-service community schools, which brings healthcare and other services into school buildings where children can reach them. The bill would also allow districts to hire more counselors and other mental health professionals and provide dedicated money for attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers of color, a proven strategy for raising the achievement of students of color.
“The House bill recognizes the racial demographics of Minnesota’s students changing, but so are their educational needs. The bill spends more than $110 million on the exploding costs of providing special education services,” Specht said. “While that will only pay for a fraction of the unfunded mandates from the state and federal government, it’s an acknowledgment that the old ways of funding services for the students who need us the most aren’t sufficient anymore.”
On policy, the House added needed transparency and accountability to the state’s new teacher licensure law, which radically lowered the training requirements to earn a teaching license in Minnesota. The bill would require districts and charter schools to disclose publicly how many teachers of each tier they employ. It increases the amount of the state oversight of teachers with the least training, closes certain loopholes and prevents administrators from assigning students to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 teacher in back-to-back years.