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House passes omnibus education bill during special session, includes $543 million funding boost

Rep. Jim Davnie, chair of the House Education Finance Division, describes provisions of the omnibus education finance and policy bill during special session floor debate May 25.

Waiting until the last minute to get work done is not a strategy only utilized by students, as lawmakers can attest. 

In the final hour of what legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Walz agreed would be a one-day special session, the House voted 112-13 to pass a $20.1 billion two-year omnibus E-12 education finance bill Saturday morning.   

Sponsored by Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), the bill would appropriate $543 million in new spending in the upcoming 2020-21 biennium, most of that would be used to increase the general education per pupil formula.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

Despite being much leaner than the omnibus education package passed by the House weeks ago, Davnie said it still contains many of the DFL’s priorities and helps stabilize school budgets. 

“All Minnesota kids deserve a world-class education and that requires honest investment,” Davnie said in a statement. “While there’s still more work to do for Minnesota students and teachers, House Democrats fought for the critical funding students need and deserve.”

The bill provides $388.8 million for a 2 percent increase in the general education per pupil funding formula each year of the upcoming biennium. It also includes $90.7 million in special education cross-subsidy aid, and an additional $46.79 million to maintain 4,000 voluntary prekindergarten seats for the next two years.

Most policy was dropped from the agreement, including House proposals that would have made changes to the teacher licensure system, required school districts to adopt a comprehensive sexual health education model, and required districts to use non-exclusionary disciplinary policies and practices.

Also cut, noncontroversial items such as measures to prohibit lunch shaming and requirements regarding radon testing in schools. Both of which have received bipartisan support.


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