Home Minnesota Educator 2024 legislative session updates and progress report

2024 legislative session updates and progress report

Share on

As this issue goes to publication, state legislators are putting the final touches on the 2024 supplemental budget.

State budgets are set in odd years, with even years being focused more on policy and small surplus investment. Before the legislative session ends on May 20, legislators will try to pass a modest budget, investing one-time money into education, pensions, health care, labor, transportation and more while also focusing on making needed policy-only changes in state law. Due to a “structural imbalance” in the state budget, legislative leaders settled on a modest budget to allow for stable state funding in future years.

Education Minnesota advocated for issues to support the day-to-day work and financial well-being of our members, achieving important one-time funding for growing issues and moving conversations forward that will support large, systemic change next year.

Minnesota is in an exacerbated educator shortage: 9 out of 10 schools can’t find enough educators to fill existing open and essential positions. We believe the answer to this is simple—better pay, better pensions and better health care.


Identified as the top issue in our member poll, the movement for fair educator pay is growing. This year, our members advocated for statewide solutions, especially in the face of modest contract settlements after the historic education budget from 2023. With teachers making 28% less than other workers in Minnesota and ESPs making less than a living wage in many areas, the state needs to take action to raise pay to recruit and retain a strong educator workforce.

Senate File 5470 would raise pay for every educator, while setting a minimum starting salary of $60,000 for teachers and a minimum wage of $25/hour for ESPs. It also includes inflation adjustments every four years, so educators would not need to fight for raises that just keep up with inflation. This is the start of a movement for systemic change for the future of public education in Minnesota.


The movement for pension improvements is alive and growing. Thousands of members raised their voices to legislators this year for urgent pension investment. With a tight supplemental budget in mind, Education Minnesota’s Pension Advisory Group brought forward a bill idea to mitigate the extreme over-penalization of Tier 2 Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) members before the “cross-over” point at age 63. At age 63, Tier 2 and Tier 1 payments become equal.

Legislative leadership reached an agreement on a modest $500 million supplemental budget for all funding areas, with almost no ongoing funding. In a rare move, the speaker, majority leader and governor included a line in the budget marked just for educator pensions. The $31 million, one-time target, though it’s a large portion of the overall budget compared to any other year, was not enough to make the systemic, long-term change educators need for a fair and sustainable retirement.

This year’s supplemental pension bill passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the governor. More than $28 million of the $31 million target went to TRA, allowing the scheduled lowering of the retirement age in 2025 to move to this summer. This ensures that the thousands of teachers retiring this summer aren’t left out of the NRA 65 improvement. More than $1.5 million was dedicated to St. Paul teachers to mitigate the scheduled employee contribution increase, so instead of jumping from 7.75% of their paycheck to 9%, they’ll experience a more stable increase of 0.25% per year until 2026. Nearly $1.5 million went toward the IRAP change for college faculty.

Though it’s not the huge step that we want, the changes passed this session clearly indicate that we’ve made waves at the Legislature, and legislators know that they can’t leave session without investment in educator pensions. The movement is growing, with more members involved than ever, and now we turn to planning for the 2025 legislative session where conversations around revenue for larger systemic changes are possible.

Health Care

With double-digit health care increases for educators in many parts of the state, affordable and accessible health care is a growing issue among members.

This year, a policy-only bill to stabilize the Public Employee Insurance Plan (PEIP) passed out of the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed by the governor on May 3. Stabilizing PEIP with more sustainable, evidence-based pool processes will lower costs and lead the way towards a larger, statewide health care plan for educators, taking educators out of the volatile for-profit health care industry decisions.

The commerce committee also adopted important transparency items requiring health insurance bids through the Public Employee Insurance Plan to include information about agent and brokerage fees, and how this affects the premium. This is a big step forward for transparency in health care costs.

Also up for consideration this year is a tax transparency bill that would build greater accountability for corporations, including large health care companies. Large corporations and billionaires need to pay their fair share to the state if we want to see the broad systemic investment educators and students need.

Other Issues

At time of print, a pilot program for student teacher pay was considered by the education finance conference committee. This bill uses $7 million of one-time money towards paying student teachers for their full-time work in public schools, testing it at the largest education programs across the state that have experienced enrollment decline. More than 4,000 aspiring educators are members of Education Minnesota and have been leading this charge to provide support for one of the largest barriers to graduating—the unpaid, full-time work in schools on top of tuition payments. This is a great way to support bringing more young people into this essential profession and could help address the educator shortage.

READ Act stipends are still in play that would allocate one-time money towards paid professional development hours for educators. About 35,000 teachers are required to receive professional development through the READ Act. Education Minnesota is fighting to ensure these teachers receive compensation for their work meeting our kids’ needs.

The education finance conference committee is also considering the creation of an Educator Compensation Working Group, which would likely support our efforts towards pay, pensions and health care.

Thank you to every educator who took time this session to raise their voice at the Capitol, attend rallies, meet with legislators and more. Because of the work and advocacy of membership, the Legislature moved many issues forward in a tight budget session and is ready to go to work on larger changes next year. Thank you!

Similar Posts