SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Wednesday, the Minnesota House of Representatives advanced a supplemental education budget plan to deliver over $3 billion worth of new investments to support students, families, public schools, and school staff. Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL – Esko) voted in favor of the legislation.
“We’re all too familiar with the challenges our schools have faced over the last two years, and our House Education budget delivers critical resources to support Minnesota schools and students,” Rep. Sundin said. “The investments in this bill will help schools hire more vital support staff, support literacy at all levels of learning, and better ensure our youngest Minnesotans have a great start in their education journeys. All Minnesota students deserve a world-class education, and with a historic budget surplus, we have the opportunity to help them succeed.”
The bill includes a focus on literacy and overall academic success, including the BOLD literacy package and funding for Math Corps. The bill’s mental health package, totaling $475 million, will address the shortages of school support personnel that benefit students’ social, emotional, and physical health, and fund wrap-around services for students. The legislation provides dedicated funds to support hiring around 1,100 student support personnel so students have greater access to school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses.
The bill addresses the more than $700 million funding shortfall for special education services, as well as the nearly $150 million deficit in English Language Learner services. The proposal provides more than $500 million annually over the next three years to reduce the amount school districts pay to make up for these shortfalls, reducing the special education “cross-subsidy” by over 55%, and would eliminate the English Language Learner cross-subsidy by 2026.
The plan expands Early Head Start and awards early learning scholarships to more than 20,000 low-income and vulnerable infants and toddlers. Once these children turn four, they’ll have access to a statewide, voluntary pre-kindergarten program through local schools, Head Starts, and licensed child care providers. Together, these investments will put thousands of children on the path to success in kindergarten, school, and life.
The House DFL proposal uses Minnesota’s historic budget surplus to provide $1.15 billion in additional education funding in fiscal year 2023 and $2.12 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. In comparison, Senate Republicans have included 0.35% of the state’s $9.25 billion budget surplus to fund the resources Minnesota students and schools are counting on.