St. Paul, MN-- Today, the Minnesota House advanced the E-12 education budget on a vote of 73-60. The legislation helps Minnesota kids catch up over an unprecedented year, and makes an ongoing commitment to students and families with strong investments moving forward.
“Minnesota students deserve access to the tools they need to be successful, especially after a challenging year during a global pandemic,” said Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis), chair of the House Education Finance Committee. “We can and must deliver for our students and families with honest, ongoing investments to ensure our kids can thrive academically and emotionally, now and in future years to come.”
The House DFL’s E-12 education budget stabilizes school investments with a 2 percent per pupil increase each of the next two years, with additional increases the following two years so schools can do long-term strategic planning and be confident that they will have the resources they need. Under the proposal, voluntary Pre-Kindergarten programming that would otherwise expire is protected for 4,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners. House DFLers are also prioritizing the needs of students with funding for full-service community schools, and targeted aid for more rigorous coursework, individualized tutoring, mental health support and social and emotional learning. The bill also provides strong pathways to postsecondary opportunities.
"All Minnesota students deserve a world-class education and every opportunity to succeed," said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. "House Democrats are making significant investments in education. We know that COVID-19 has brought new challenges and worsened disparities in our education system. We’re focused on helping our students recover from the pandemic and thrive once it’s behind us.”
The House DFL E-12 budget funds the Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers Act, which expands legislative efforts to recruit and retain teachers of color and American Indian Teachers. Additionally, the bill contains provisions to improve school environments so they are more welcoming places for students and teachers of color.
“Our education budget contains several important policy provisions that aim to address our state’s unacceptable racial disparities,” said Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL- Mendota Heights), chair of the House Education Policy Committee. “Closing the widening opportunity gap and ensuring every child has the chance to thrive is beneficial to everyone- and makes our state stronger and more prosperous for all.”
The budget invests significantly in early care and learning, with nearly $40 million in early learning scholarships directed to the youngest and most vulnerable Minnesotans. It establishes a Great Start for All Minnesota Children Task Force to develop a plan that ensures every family has access to high-quality, affordable early care and learning - regardless of race, income, or zip code - and that their teachers and caregivers earn a living wage. The bill also directs the Children’s Cabinet to develop recommendations for transferring administration of early learning programs to a single state agency and provides grants for Tribal Nations to deliver early childhood services.
“The earliest years of a child’s life set the foundation for everything that follows,” said Rep. Dave Pinto (DFL - St. Paul), chair of the House Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee. “But early care and learning was in crisis even before the pandemic, with persistent and deep opportunity gaps, burdensome costs for families, and poverty wages for teachers and caregivers. The investments advanced today will help close gaps and ensure that parents can work, employers can grow, and communities can thrive.”
“Minnesota is slipping and becoming more average in education because Republican politicians insist on budgets that shortchange families, students, and schools,” said Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Showering tax cuts on the rich and well-connected and hoping wealth trickles down to the rest of us is why we have a child care crisis, the nation’s worst racial opportunity gaps, stagnant school funding, and overworked, underpaid teachers. Minnesota has the resources to provide a world-class education for every student, from cradle through career, but Republican tax cuts for the biggest corporations and the rich are holding kids back from reaching their full potential.”