Minnesotans are proud of their schools and the start of another school year is right around the corner. 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 know that every student deserves an opportunity to gain an education and the skills they need to succeed. But to do that our students need support to succeed in the classroom.
K-12 schools are underfunded
Despite a massive budget surplus, the House Majority initially proposed underfunding our schools causing cuts in the classroom. This would have led to teacher layoffs and larger class sizes–completely unacceptable during a budget surplus. I fought alongside Gov. Dayton and other DFLers in the Legislature for more funding, and thankfully we got enough to keep our schools steady, but we have more work to do before every student gets the education they deserve.
Pre-K available for 22,500 more young learners
We did get some good news for Minnesota kids 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 includes nearly $1.9 million for the Robbinsdale School District. 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 Plusprograms. 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, they will likely be facing a higher bill. The House Majority chose to 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 students leave college with a staggering amount of debt. Higher tuition means higher debt. I will fight the student debt crisis so going to college and getting training for a lifelong career won’t hamper a student’s future.
School supply purchases may be tax-deductible
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.
Have an excellent school year.