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State Representative Paul Thissen

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Posted: Apr 23 2015 9:59AM
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House DFL introduces education plan that invests $800 million in E-12 education


 
Saint Paul, Minnesota – Despite a $2 billion surplus, House Republicans are poised to pass an education bill this session that will significantly shortchange schools, so they can provide over $2 billion in tax breaks. This morning, House DFL legislators introduced a plan that would make a different choice, investing about $800 million in E-12 education. The plan would adequately fund Minnesota schools, phase in all-day pre-K education for Minnesota’s 4 year olds, address rural disparities, and fund Minnesota’s successful teacher development program.
 
House Democrats called on their Republican counterparts to reduce the billions in corporate tax breaks that are included in the Republican budget so that the legislature can ensure Minnesota’s kids aren’t left behind this session. They will introduce their plan as "Minority Report" to the House Republican education omnibus bill today during the floor session, which begins at 11:00 a.m.
 
“We have a choice this session, adequately fund education or cut taxes for corporations,” said Thissen. “With a $2 billion surplus it is inexcusable to lay off teachers and ignore the needs of our youngest learners. Governor Dayton has made education his top priority and it should be the top priority of this legislature as well.”
 
Highlights of the House DFL Education Plan include:
 
Adequately funding every school - $343 million
The plan provides a 2% & 2% funding increase on education funding formula, delivering a $234 per pupil funding increase to Minnesota’s schools. Instead of teacher layoffs, school districts would have flexibility to meet the needs of their students and classrooms.
 
Investing all of our youngest learners - $174 million
The plan phases in universal pre-K by FY 19 ($115 million in FY 16-17), invests in early learning scholarships, school readiness, and eliminates the current Head Start waiting list.
 
Investing in special education - $39 million
Meets Governor Dayton’s priority for special education funding, freeing up additional funds for all Minnesota classrooms.
 
Fund teacher development - $20 million
Provides resources to adequately fund Minnesota’s successful Teacher Development and Evaluations program so that teachers can improve through professional development and be held accountable for their performance.
 
Address disparities in rural schools - $63 million
Provides resources that will help schools in Greater Minnesota ensure that basic building maintenances are met, from fixing shingles to ensuring safety codes are met.
 
In 2013, while facing a $627 million deficit, Democrats passed a budget that paid back all the money previously borrowed from schools and invested more than $500 million in E-12 education. That new investment including $134 million for all-day kindergarten across the state, $234 million for K-12 classrooms, and $40 million for early education.
 
With a $2 billion surplus, House Republicans are providing $137 million, less than a 1% increase. For every dollar they are spending on education, they are giving away $15 in tax breaks. House DFL Leader Paul Thissen said the House Democrats plan to invest $800 million in education makes a better choice for Minnesota’s future.
 
House DFL vs. House GOP Education Funding Plans
 
 
House DFL
House GOP
Per Pupil Funding Formula
$343 million ($234 per pupil)
$97 million ($66 per pupil)
Early Education
$174 million
$44 million
Special Education
$39 million
$0
Teacher Development
$20 milion
$0
Rural School Buildings
$63 million
$0
Total
$797 million
$157 million
 
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