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State Representative Jenifer Loon

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Posted: Jun 12 2015 1:25PM
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PRESS RELEASE

House Passes Bipartisan Student-Focused Education Legislation in Special Session


ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Friday, June 12, 2015, during the special legislative session, the House passed a bipartisan student-focused education omnibus bill that increases E-12 funding by $525 million. Authored by Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), the bill spends $17.23 billion in total for Fiscal Years 2016-17 and also includes a number of policies that empower teachers and schools, prioritize early childhood learning and provide fairer funding for schools. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support 115-10.

"House Republicans took the lead, working with Governor Dayton to craft a student-focused, bipartisan education bill that puts more money into our classrooms and works to provide every Minnesota child with a world-class education," said Rep. Loon. "From increasing E-12 funding by a substantial $525 million to prioritizing our youngest learners with $95 million for several targeted pre-k programs, this legislation increases academic opportunities for all students and will help close the achievement gap."

The legislation spends $1.4 billion more than last biennium, a 9.5 percent increase, and raises the per pupil funding formula by two percent in both 2016 and 2017. In total, the omnibus bill increases funding by an average of $388 per pupil, breaking down to $396 per pupil in Greater Minnesota, $380 per pupil in the Twin Cities, and $392 per pupil for charter schools.

Additionally, there is $95 million for early learning initiatives including $48.25 million for early learning scholarships and $30.75 million for school readiness aid. For Greater Minnesota schools districts, there is also additional funding for facilities maintenance which will help reduce funding disparities and finance the upkeep of school buildings.

Finally, Republican-initiated reforms including teacher licensure reform for out-of-state educators and fewer mandated tests are still included in the bill.

Here are the highlighted differences between the final bipartisan education bill vetoed by Governor Dayton in May and the agreed-upon legislation passed in special session:

  • $125 million more in education funding ($400 million to $525 million)
  • $63.436 million more on the per pupil formula which raises a 3.5 percent formula increase to a 4 percent increase (2 percent for 2016 and 2 percent for 2017)
  • $17.5 million more for early learning scholarships
  • $10 million more for Head Start
  • $10 million more for compensatory grants
  • $9.5 million more for American Indian Education Aid and $5 million for FY 2016-17 Tribal Contract Schools
  • $4 million more for the Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood
  • $1 million more for education partnership grants for Northfield, Red Wing and St. Cloud
  • $3.1 million to extend English Language Learner formula eligibility from 6 years to 7 years
  • $295,000 for a referendum fix in Owatonna
  • $1.16 million for the Minnesota Department of Education English Language Learner administrative costs
  • No other changes to spending or policy items previously adopted were included in the final legislation

"Our bipartisan education bill invests in our students, offers meaningful education reforms, and gives school districts the flexibility to spend money where they need it most, whether it be for more afterschool programs, teacher hires or a reduction in class sizes," added Rep. Loon. "This bill shows our commitment to providing a top-quality public education in the state of Minnesota, and I am pleased it will be signed into law."

 

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