Minnesota House of Representatives

Menu

State Representative Rob Ecklund

311 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
651-296-2190

For more information contact: Erik Anderson 651-296-5318

Posted: 2017-08-29
Share on: 



Legislative Update

Legislative Update - August 29, 2017


Greetings Northlanders!

 

For thousands of families throughout the state, the start of another school year is right around the corner or, in some cases, has already begun. There are countless Minnesotans, including teachers, parents, support staff, administrators and others who are set to hit the ground running - helping our young people learn skills, gain valuable life experiences and reach academic success.

 

Here in Minnesota, we value our world class schools, and our students deserve the support they need to succeed in the classroom. Read below for an update on education items from the 2017 legislative session.

 

K-12 schools are fully funded

This year’s legislative session delivered increased investments in our schools, which was a remarkable achievement considering the House Majority in fact initially proposed underfunding our schools. This would have led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes and cuts in the classroom –completely unacceptable during a budget surplus. Thankfully, with Gov. Dayton’s leadership and DFLers in the Legislature committed to doing better, Minnesota’s public schools will see a 2 percent increase on the per pupil funding formula each of the next two years –enough to keep up with inflation and fully fund our schools.

 

Pre-K available for 22,500 more young learners

More good news for Minnesota kids came earlier this month when Gov. Dayton announced a list of the 59 public school districts and charter schools receiving funding for pre-K education. This means 22,500 more kids will be able to enter preschool this fall from funds the Legislature allocated for voluntary pre-K and School Readiness Plus programs. Unfortunately, thousands of young learners throughout the state still don’t have access to affordable learning opportunities. Unaddressed, this void only exacerbates our state’s persistent achievement gap, and we need to come together with solutions giving all Minnesota students a boost as they begin their academic journeys.

 

Many college students to see tuition hikes, increased debt

For those Minnesotans going to college this fall, unfortunately, the legislative session likely left them facing a higher bill. The House Majority chose to grossly underfund the needs of both the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State systems, meaning tuition will increase, and along with programming and faculty cuts at campuses, this could cause our state’s future economic growth to be hamstrung. Minnesota college students are ranked fifth in the nation for the average student loan debt load. Higher tuition means higher debt, and increased investments will need to be made in our colleges and universities to prevent this burden from becoming completely unsustainable. I’m committed to continuing to work to reduce the costs of higher education and job training and helping to tackle student debt.

 

School supply purchases may be tax-deductible

With a new school year means purchasing school supplies, and this amount can add up quickly. Luckily, there is a tax benefit available for parents of K-12 students toward most of these supplies. Parents should remember to save receipts for these purchases to claim the tax credit or subtraction on their 2017 state income tax return. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has more information available here.

 

It’s up to all of us to create an environment in which our young people can have the opportunity for successful development both now and down the road. I wish the students in your family the best and hope you will provide the encouragement they need to meet their full potential, reaching goals and achieving at a high level in the classroom and in all of their endeavors including athletics, arts, or other activities in school and in the community.

 

Have an excellent school year.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Rob Ecklund

State Representative

Minnesota House of Representatives  ·   100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN   55155   ·   Webmaster@house.mn