A plan that would dedicate nearly $157 million in additional spending to the state’s E-12 budget and implement numerous policy reforms that Republican leaders say aim to improve the quality of classroom instruction for students received a contentious “thumbs up” on the House Floor Saturday.
As expected, the debate leading up the 69-61 vote to pass HF844 — the omnibus education finance bill — was largely drawn along party lines. The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) is the sponsor.
Sponsored by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), the backbone of the bill includes a 0.6 percent increase to the per-pupil basic funding formula each year in the 2016-17 biennium and devotes many of its proposed reforms to closing the achievement gap. Those provisions range from a $30 million increase in early learning scholarship dollars for low-income families to reforms to teacher licensure and seniority-based layoff policies.
While DFL members criticized the plan, saying its per pupil funding increase would fall short of the increased needs of school districts at a time of a projected $1.9 billion state budget surplus, Republicans praised the bill’s appropriations and policy provisions as innovative in their approach in providing more flexibility for school districts to serve their students.
(PICTURED: Rep. Jenifer Loon presents the omnibus education finance bill on the House floor April 25. Photo by Andrew VonBank)
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TUESDAY - House floor session *
Tuesday, April 28 2015 3:30 PM
Watch: Live Event
* The start time for Tuesday's floor session has not officially been set.
CALENDAR FOR THE DAY.
SF878 (Cornish) Omnibus Public Safety and Crime Prevention Finance bill.
SF1458 (Dean) Omnibus Health and Human Services Finance bill.
SF1238 (Sanders) Omnibus Liquor bill.
Members must constitutionally finish their work this year by May 18.
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A flip in leadership and more returning members mark some of the changes in store for 2015-16 House of Representatives.