Governor's budget proposal
Gov. Tim Walz last week released his proposed state budget, which includes $745 million in new education spending and raising additional revenue by making the wealthiest Minnesotans pay their fair share.
The bulk of the new funding in his “Due North” plan is spent on increasing the per-pupil formula, tackling racial disparities in schools and funding gaps for special education and English learner services and helping students and educators bounce back from COVID-19 disruptions.
Here are some of the highlights:
- $300 million to increase the funding formula 1% in the first year and 2.5% in the second year.
- $73 million for special education.
- $95 million for levy equalization, which helps make levies more affordable in low-property wealth districts.
- $58 million for summer extended learning time and supports (additional federal funds).
- $40 million to maintain voluntary pre-K programs.
- $25 million to help schools with enrollment losses due to COVID.
- $20 million to expand summer preschool programs.
- $14 million for English learners.
- $10 million to maintain and expand full-service community schools.
- $8 million to recruit and retain more teachers of color.
- $4 million for schools to offer trauma-informed professional development.
The formula proposal may be a concern for some school districts, particularly in the first year of the biennium. But Walz is directing money to racial equity, student and mental supports and other programs that educators have said for years are a priority.
Minnesota also expects to receive an additional $600 million in federal aid to help schools with COVID relief.
Walz proposes raising taxes on the richest 1%, changing the corporate tax structure and closing loopholes to pay for these investments and bring in $2 billion in new revenue. A budget forecast will be released later this month to give lawmakers an updated financial outlook for the state.
The DFL-led House and Republican Senate will release their budget proposals in early April. All three sides will need to come together and agree upon a two-year budget before session ends May 17.