Important decisions still pending on education budget

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Chris Williams
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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. May 19, 2019 – Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders presented a global budget deal Sunday night that would increase spending on the main per-pupil funding formula by 2 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second, among other education investments that are to be decided.

Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said Sunday that the union would advocate for additional spending on special education, hiring more counselors and other student support professionals, and for the $47 million necessary to preserve about 4,000 seats in preschools around the state.

“Minnesotans elected Gov. Tim Walz and Speaker Melissa Hortman because they wanted new investments in public education, to put affordable health care within reach of everyone and to repair the state’s roads and bridges,” Specht said. “They fought hard but they faced a Senate majority with very different priorities.”

“The formula increase alone is enough to preserve the status quo, but there are important decisions still to be made about investing the full $540 million in new education spending,” Specht said. “The final verdict on this budget will be decided in a few days.”

Earlier this year, Education Minnesota released its definition of fully funding E-12 public education, including reducing class sizes so students can get individual attention, bringing the state’s ratio of counselors to students in line with national standards, giving every 4-year-old access to a high-quality pre-K program, raising educator pay and reducing educators’ education debt. The cost was $3.7 billion to $4.3 billion for the biennium. 

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.