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State Representative Jenifer Loon

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Posted: 2017-05-24
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Press Release

RELEASE: House passes Education Legislation with $1.35 billion increased funding for students and schools


Legislation increases funding for K-12 schools, funds proven, targeted early education initiatives, and advances policies to improve student learning and keep the best teachers in the classroom

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — On Wednesday, the House passed a bipartisan student-focused Education Omnibus bill on a vote of 79-54. The legislation, which was agreed upon by the Legislature and Governor Dayton during budget negotiations includes $1.35 billion in new education funding over the current biennium, funding for early learning initiatives including scholarships and school readiness aid plus, and an increase to the per pupil funding formula of 2 percent each year which equates to $245 more for every student. What’s more, the legislation also help­s keep the best teachers in the classroom, creates a new academic achievement initiative to help low-income students succeed in school, and stands up for the health and well-being of kids.

“Our legislation places significant new funding into every classroom, provides additional investments for proven, targeted early education programs, and makes meaningful policy changes including teacher licensure reform and repeal of the ‘last in, first out’ default in state statute,” said Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, who chairs the House Education Finance Committee. “From day one, our focus was on students and ensuring every Minnesota child has access to an excellent education that prepares them for success. From recruiting and retaining world-class teachers to addressing our state’s achievement gap, I think this year’s education bill is a win for Minnesota kids.”

Key provisions in the agreed-upon legislation:

  • Place more money in every classroom
  • Focus all new scholarship funding to Pathway I scholarships which go directly to help families choose quality early education programs that best fit their budget, schedule and child’s needs
  • Continue Minnesota’s nation-leading mixed delivery system of quality early education programming and scholarships
  • Provide $50 million in one-time funding to allow districts to develop early learning programs that best fit the needs of their students and families, choosing from either voluntary pre-kindergarten or school readiness plus which allows for more flexibility
  • Overhauls our broken teacher licensure system, replacing the troubled Board of Teaching with a new  Professional Educator License and Standards Board following recommendations by the Office of the Legislative Auditor and Teacher Licensing Work Group
  • Continue Republican-led efforts to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention, funding innovative programs including Grow Your Own, alternative teacher preparation, teacher loan forgiveness programs, and agriculture educator grants
  • Repeal the “last in, first out” default in state statute to allow schools and local bargaining units to negotiate mutually beneficial staff retention decisions that better serve students, teachers and schools
  • Protect kids by permitting school districts to provide child sexual abuse prevention instruction
  • Protect kids’ health by requiring school districts to test for the presence of lead in water of public school buildings
  • Create a new, targeted academic achievement initiative that funds before school, afterschool and summer programs to help low-income students who are falling behind their grade-level peers

The legislation will now go to the Senate who is expected to pass the measure before sending it to Governor Dayton for signature.

 

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