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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL)

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RELEASE: Rep. Moller votes to deliver meaningful investments to students and schools

Friday, April 29, 2022

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. Kelly Moller (DFL – Shoreview) voted in favor of the legislation.

“Minnesota’s students deserve every opportunity to succeed, and this budget delivers critical resources in the classroom at a time when they need them most,” Rep. Moller said. “I’m especially proud of the strong investments in student support staff – an area in which we’ve fallen woefully short for too long – and my legislation to improve mental health in schools.  There was a mental health crisis for our students even prior to the pandemic, and these investments will help ensure students can have a bright, successful future.”

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.

Rep. Moller is chief author of legislation requiring the Minnesota Department of Education to create two school mental health services leads, with one focused on the needs of students and one focused on teachers and other school staff. The House Education budget funds this initiative, and the leads would be charged with helping schools assess their comprehensive mental health plans and develop plans to implement evidence-based mental health resources, tools and practices in school districts. They’d also be responsible for establishing a clearinghouse with information and resources for schools, teachers and families, assisting schools with trauma-informed and culturally responsive school programs, and other duties.

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.

To help address Minnesota’s opportunity gap, 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.