The nearly $18.58 billion proposal, would increase General Education Basic Formula funding by 1.5 percent over the 2018-19 biennium. That would result in an additional $247.7 million, the number put forth in the Senate proposal.
Opponents have argued a 2 percent increase is necessary to keep up with inflation and rising costs.
Voluntary pre-k programs currently receive $25 million in base funding and serve an estimated 3,300 4-year-olds at 74 school districts across the state. Its funding would be replaced by $112.9 million in school readiness funding and $138.7 million for early learning scholarships.
Supporters of the bill say it is a more targeted approach to reach students in need.
“We want to commit to proven strategies, and empower parents to choose the best programs for their students and the needs of their families,” Loon said.
But opponents contend the move could create a “voucher system” vacuum on public schools, further perpetuating inequity.
Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) said the absence of funding to expand pre-k education makes the bill ripe for a veto.
“The governor sent us clear signals of what is important,” and pre-k expansion is among his priorities, she said. “I do not understand the strategy behind your move to put bills on the governor’s desk” that will be met with a veto.
Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton), who chairs the House Education Policy Committee, pleaded with members to think about the bill she described as setting a foundation for education. She pointed to the proposed pilot programs that would carefully study school readiness.
“This is a good bill for the target that we have,” Erickson said.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton to use mediation to resolve a funding dispute. In an opinion issued Friday, the court also ruled that Dayton’s use of the line-item veto to strip biennial funding for the Legislature was constitutional.
A Ramsey County judge on Wednesday ruled that Gov. Mark Dayton’s line-item veto of legislative funding violated the state’s constitution.
House and Senate leadership OK a resolution to seek outside legal representation in an effort to restore funding for the Legislature that Gov. Mark Dayton line-item vetoed earlier this week.
Day three of the 2017 special session saw lawmakers pass final omnibus bills to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, with weary House members wrapping up their work at 2:42 a.m. Friday following a week of long days — and nights — at the State Capitol.
Lawmakers on conference committees must sort through competing bills before finalizing a product to send to the governor.
The budget process explained — and why it matters
$45 billion plan is about a 10 percent increase over current biennium
Governor urges lawmakers to pass a big capital investment bill during budget-setting year; House Speaker has expressed doubt over bonding this session
It was a day of selfies, swearings-in and standing ovations as the House opened the 2017-18 biennial session Tuesday.