For more information contact: Matt Roznowski 651-296-8875
St. Paul, MN – State Representative Peter Fischer (DFL – Maplewood) is wishing students well as they prepare for the upcoming school year and reminding families about tax credits for school supplies and significant funding increases for their local schools districts. In addition, all-day Kindergarten is available for every child free of charge for the first time in state history and college students are benefiting from the second year of a tuition freeze at state colleges and universities.
“Minnesota is well known for our historical commitment to education,” said Fischer. “I’m proud to have helped strengthen that commitment by boosting funding for our local schools, providing free all-day Kindergarten for every child in Minnesota and freezing college tuition for two years. Some of my top priorities in the years ahead are ensuring access to high quality early education for every 3 and 4 year old and reducing the alarmingly high amount of debt shouldered by college graduates.”
By making education a top priority, Fischer aims to build a highly educated workforce that can compete in today’s global economy. By 2018, 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require post-secondary education according to a 2010 study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
“A strong education for every child is the key to a strong economy,” added Fischer. “It’s especially important to invest in our students right now when you consider how more and more Minnesotans in the Baby Boomer generation are retiring and leaving our workforce.”
Major highlights for the upcoming school year include:
ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN FOR EVERY CHILD - For the first time in state history, all-day Kindergarten is available for every child free of charge. As a result, families with Kindergarteners enrolled in the White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi and Roseville Public School Districts will save thousands of dollars every year. Moms and dads previously paid around $3,000 in tuition for the full day option.
TAX CREDITS FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES - Minnesota offers two programs to help moms and dads pay for their children’s education expenses. The K-12 Education Subtraction and the K-12 Education Credit can lower the tax you pay or increase your refund when filing your Minnesota income tax return. You may qualify for the K-12 subtraction, the K-12 credit, or both if you save your receipts.
Common expenses that qualify include school supplies such as pencils, paper and calculators, educational computer hardware and software, extracurricular academic or fine arts classes such as dance, music lessons, art and science, and tutoring for subjects needed for K-12 classes taught by a qualified instruction.
The K-12 subtraction lets you subtract qualifying educational expenses from your taxable income when you file a Minnesota income tax return. You may subtract up to $1,625 in education expenses for each child in grades kindergarten through 6, and $2,500 for each child in grades 7 through 12. There is no income limit to qualify for the education subtraction, and you may qualify regardless of your filing status.
The K-12 credit reduces your state income tax or increases your refund. If you meet certain income requirements, you may claim this credit on your Minnesota income tax return for up to 75 percent of qualifying educational expenses. You may claim this credit and receive a refund even if you don’t owe income tax for the year.
FUNDING INCREASES FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS - Students in Rep. Fischer’s legislative district (43A) attend the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale, White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi and Roseville Public School Districts – all of which received significant funding increases for the upcoming school year.
North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District: Over $6.1 million in additional funding ($574 more per student).
White Bear Lake School District: Over $4.4 million in additional funding ($546 more per student).
Mahtomedi School District: Over $1.4 million in additional funding ($432 more per student).
Roseville School District: Over $3.8 million in additional funding ($537 more per student).
HOT LUNCHES FOR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS - A report from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid published earlier this year found that some Minnesota school districts denied hot lunch to low-income students who had insufficient funds in their lunch accounts. In response, the legislature unanimously increased funding for the school lunch program to ensure no child is ever denied a hot lunch due to the inability to pay.
TUITION FREEZE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS - The legislature froze tuition for two years for Minnesota residents earning an undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, including Century College in White Bear Lake. Tuition had more than doubled over the previous decade before the tuition freeze went into effect last year. State lawmakers also made the largest investment in state financial aid in over a decade to help more students pay for a post-secondary degree.
Rep. Fischer encourages his constituents to contact him with any questions about the legislature’s investments in education. He can be reached by phone at (651) 296-5363, by email at email@example.com or by postal mail at 421 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.