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Rep. Pryor Votes Yes on Education Investments

Saturday, June 26, 2021

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives approved the E-12 Education Budget  on a vote of 105-20, making the strongest level of investment in public schools in 15 years, preserving 4,000 pre-K slots set to expire without action. The bipartisan agreement with the Senate also makes historic investments in increasing the number of teachers of color and Indigenous teachers in Minnesota and holds down special education and English Language Learner budget shortfalls.

“Every Minnesota child deserves the best possible start in life and House DFLers recognize the importance of setting our students up for success from the beginning,” said Rep. Laurie Pryor, vice chair of the Early Childhood Finance and Policy Committee. “This budget provides needed resources to our youngest learners and their families. It invests in all children throughout Minnesota and gives them access to a world class education, serving them their whole lives.”

Education Savings Accounts were not included in the final education budget, which would create a voucher-type program where parents could withdraw their child from the public system and take the state funding with them to a nonpublic school. Instead, the compromise bill includes the strongest level of investment in public education in 15 years with a 2.45% increase to the general formula in 2022, and another 2% in 2023.

The compromise bill also provides stability to public schools during this period of uncertainty, one-time funding for the Special Education and English Learner cross subsidies, and a temporary extension of 4,000 expiring Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten slots. 

The E-12 Education budget directs significant funding to address Minnesota’s shortage of teachers of color. While students of color and Native American students make up 35% of Minnesota’s K-12 student population, only 5.6% of teachers are teachers of color or Native American. While the agreement does not fully fund the original House provision, it still makes a historic investment in addressing this key contributor to the opportunity gap in Minnesota. The programs funded in the agreement for this purpose are:

  • $5m per year for Grow Your Own programs
  • $3m in one-time funding for the Sanneh Foundation
  • $2.25m per year for teacher mentorship programs aimed at increasing teacher retention
  • $750k in one-time funding for Black Men Teach to increase the number of black male teachers in specific schools
  • $250k per year for a teacher recruitment marketing campaign
  • $200k per year for hiring bonuses to recruit teachers of color from outside Minnesota
  • $140k per year for American Indian Teacher Preparation grants
  • $125k per year for Introduction to Teaching concurrent enrollment courses for high school students

A spreadsheet of the investments contained within the legislation can be accessed here. Video of the House Floor session will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube channel.

 

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