It’s hard to believe back to school season is here already! I want to wish all of our local students, teachers, school staff, and their families a safe and successful year.
I’m continuing a series of emails about the state budget this week, with a focus on the new E-12 Education and Higher Education budgets. You can find the rest of the series on my legislative webpage.
Investing in Minnesota Students
The E-12 Education budget my colleagues and I passed a few months ago contains the largest investments in public education that our state has made in 15 years! It increases per-pupil funding by 2.45 percent next year and an additional 2 percent the following year. That means White Bear Lake Area Schools will receive $236 more per student next year and $376 more the year after that. Mounds View Public Schools will see per-pupil increases of $263 and $402 during that period. Mahtomedi Public Schools will receive $192 and $332 more per student each year, and Stillwater Area Public Schools will see increases of $201 and $336.
The funding we delivered will help schools retain teachers, keep class sizes from growing, and support students who are facing learning loss and other challenges due to COVID-19. We also preserved pre-k opportunities for 4,000 children and secured more funding for special education and English language learner programs.
The Higher Education budget will make post-secondary opportunities more accessible for students and their families. We voted to increase funding for the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State colleges and universities and to expand the state grant program. All 75,000 recipients will see their grant increase, and thousands of students will become eligible for the first time. We also took steps to improve mental health resources on campuses, help students who spent time in foster care, support aspiring teachers of color and Indigenous teachers, and establish a pilot program to provide qualified high school students with automatic admission to MinnState institutions.
There's more work to do in both areas, but the investments we made this year will help ensure Minnesotans get a world-class education. I’ll keep working with students, parents, and educators to strengthen schools in our area and across Minnesota.
Providing Additional Support for Students
The number of Minnesota students who are meeting or exceeding grade level standards has declined since 2019, the last year students sat for statewide tests such as the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). The pandemic has been hard on all of our students, and they’ll need additional support to recover and succeed in the future.
To help meet the needs of individual students, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) launched Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success (COMPASS). The new statewide system will bring organizations and Minnesotans together to meet students’ academic, social-emotional, and mental health needs so they can thrive once COVID-19 is behind us. You can read more about this new initiative here.
Local Education Foundations
We’re lucky to have four great education foundations that serve schools in our district! The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation, Mounds View Schools Education Foundation, Mahtomedi Area Educational Foundation, and The Partnership Plan support initiatives that benefit local students. They provide funding for things like scholarships, grants for teachers and staff to pursue professional development, classroom tools and technology, and a variety of learning experiences. The programs they support often benefit multiple schools or the entire district. You can learn more about each foundation and the programs they support on their websites, linked above.
If you have questions, ideas, or feedback, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at (651) 296-3018.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!