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State Representative Paul Thissen

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Posted: Apr 9 2013 3:53PM
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House DFL Unveils Education Bill That Makes Historic Investment in Minnesota’s Future


St. Paul, Minnesota — Today the House DFL unveiled their plan to put Minnesota’s kids on the path to the world’s best workforce with a House Education Omnibus Finance bill that calls for historic investment in education. The budget sets the ambitious goal of closing the achievement gap, reaching a 100 percent high school graduation rate, 100 percent literacy by third grade, and 100 percent career and college readiness by graduation — all by 2027.

“We’re making 2013 the ‘education session’ because we know that a world-class education system is the gateway to a world-class economy,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen. “The House DFL budget keeps our promise to Minnesotans by paying back the $850 million owed to our schools while investing in our future and putting our kids on the path to the world’s best workforce.”

“As Minnesotans, we take pride in our state’s tradition of education excellence, but in recent years we have slipped,” said House Majority Leader Erin Murphy. “Our investments in education recognize that the success of Minnesota’s economic future will depend on students in classrooms today.”

The House DFL Education Budget invests in what works: fully funding all-day, every day kindergarten and investing $50 million in early learning childhood scholarships. All-day K and early childhood education are proven tools to improve test scores, close the achievement gap, and prepare students for future academic success. The House DFL Education Budget also increases the basic funding formula for K-12 schools by four percent over the biennium, an increase of over $315 million, or $209 per pupil. The school shift payback will be included in the House Taxes bill.

“The House DFL education plan will boost our economy for generations to come,” said Representative Paul Marquart (DFL – Dilworth), Chair of the House Education Finance Committee. “Building the world’s best workforce will bring jobs, new innovation and economic growth, but to get there we have to invest in efforts and strategies with a proven record of success, set benchmarks, and help our schools succeed while also holding them accountable.”

The House DFL Education Budget also contains a new strategy to close the revenue equity gap and reduce property taxes. The bill enhances the equity formula guaranteeing all districts at least $300 per student of equity and referendum revenue, and raises and indexes operating referendum levy equalization factors to reduce property taxes.

As part of building the world’s best workforce, the House DFL Education Budget would implement several necessary reforms. Schools will be required to develop strategic plans for student achievement and update the public on their status each year. The state will utilize the Minnesota Department of Education’s Regional Centers of Excellence to provide assistance and work with schools to reach their goals.

A new student assessment system will be implemented that ensures students stay on the path to being career and college ready, and innovation grants that promote new ways to increase student achievement will be available to schools.

“Increased investment is important, but every single dollar of investment has to produce extra value, not only to the student but to the state and our communities overall and that’s where these policy reforms are essential,” said Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL – St. Paul), Chair of the House Education Policy Committee. “The House DFL Education budget includes important reforms to ensure we’re accurately monitoring the progress our schools and students are making, providing accountability for the dollars we’re spending, and helping course correct when needed. This is a tremendous positive step forward for Minnesota’s education system.”

The bill will be presented in the House Education Finance Committee on Wednesday, with public testimony on Thursday and a committee vote on Friday.

The House Education bill can viewed here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/H0630Delete-all.pdf

The House Education funding spreadsheet can be viewed here: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/HF0630Delete-allspreadsheet.pdf

The school district runs for the House Education bill can be viewed here:

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/HouseProposalApril92013_1.pdf

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