Walz proposes nearly $750 million increase in education spending

Gov. Tim Walz wants to increase spending for preschools through high schools by $733 million over the next two years. 

Walz released his budget plan Tuesday, Feb. 19. It includes $523 million increase to the general per-pupil formula and $77 million to help offset rising special education costs over the next biennium. 

The governor’s budget comes just days after Education Minnesota outlined that it would take an additional $4 billion to fully fund our public schools over the next two years. This includes proven strategies like smaller class sizes, filling the state’s huge special education funding gap, hiring more support staff and more. 

The state’s budget is far from set. House Democrats and Senate Republicans likely won’t release their proposals until after the next state budget forecast is released late February or early March. Then the three sides must come together to pass a funding bill.  

“The gap between the needs of Minnesota students and the revenue provided by the state and federal governments has been growing for 15 years,” said Education Minnesota President Denise Specht. “The governor’s first budget shows he agrees with us on the scale of the problem and the need for new taxes to pay for the solution. Education Minnesota will work with his administration and the Legislature to pass a historic funding increase that brings education costs and public support back in sync.” 

The governor’s budget also includes: 

$59 million to continue funding the state’s voluntary pre-K program for 4,000 students in 140 schools across the state. That funding is set to expire. 

$26 million in spending to help schools add support staff or update buildings to keep students and employees safe.  

$8 million for full-service community schools, which are a proven way to help students achieve. This concept puts social, medical and before- and after-school academic services and enrichment activities where they are most accessible—on the school campus. 

Walz also wants to raise spending for colleges and universities by $158 million, which includes $62 million in grants for students. 

Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota systems would receive a $51 million and $39 million increase, respectively. The governor also wants to invest $150 million to infrastructure and campus improvements in each system.