Home Minnesota Educator Legislative session ends with major wins for educators, schools

Legislative session ends with major wins for educators, schools

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The 2023 Minnesota Legislature adjourned May 22 after passing a budget that makes historic investments in public education, educators and our communities. Also passed were numerous policy changes that will impact teaching and learning across the state.

There is more work to be done on issues like pensions, but after educators put their time and energy into electing pro-public education majorities into the Legislature last November, they will begin to see real impacts to their working conditions.

On May 24, Gov. Tim Walz signed into law the historic budgets for education, labor and taxes that could provide sweeping improvements to the teaching and learning environments in Minnesota’s schools and campuses, and which pay for an important step toward true pension reform for Minnesota’s teachers.

The total E-12 education omnibus bill includes $5.5 billion in new funding over the next four fiscal years, including an approximately 11 percent increase to the state’s financial support for E-12 public education in the first two-year budget and a 15 percent increase in the following two years.

“This is a life-changing package of funding and policy for the working conditions of educators and the learning environments of students—if the new money is spent correctly,” Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said. “The pension improvements are a small step toward fixing the inequities in our pension system, but our union will be back for better in 2024.”

A provision in the tax bill would spend $97 million to enable most Minnesota teachers to retire with a full pension a year earlier by reducing the normal retirement age from 66 to 65 while increasing contributions from employers and employees.

Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic and House Speaker Melissa Hortman spoke at a bill-signing event on the Capitol steps May 24. Specht said educators can take some credit for putting the governing coalition in place.

“Educators and parents are celebrating because of the efforts of thousands of educators, before and after Election Day, who advocated for public education and the people who deliver it,” Specht said. “Without the work of those educators, the elections could have turned out differently and our schools would have been facing defunding through vouchers, pay cuts for teachers, the destruction of unions, attacks on LGBTQ+ students, and restrictions on our students’ freedom to learn honest lessons of history.”

Read more about what passed and how it impacts you and your school on the next few pages. These are short summaries and does not encompass the vast amount of legislation impacting schools and educators. Go to www.educationminnesota.org and watch our social media channels for more information.

2023 legislative session by the numbers

MORE THAN 100 Education Minnesota members testified in committee hearings on bills.

MORE THAN 100 Education Minnesota members attended our in-district meetings with legislators.

MORE THAN 500 Education Minnesota members attend our days of action throughout the session.

ALMOST 600 Education Minnesota members attended the 51 in-person and virtual lobby days with legislators throughout the session.

ALMOST 1,000 pension advocates attended our march, rally and day of action.

MORE THAN 20,000 emails sent to lawmakers through Education Minnesota’s calls to action.

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