Education budget, Walz investments, create lasting, equitable investments in Minnesota schools

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. June 30, 2021 – Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature are poised to make strategic, long-term investments that bring the state’s financial support of public schools closer to Education Minnesota’s goal of full and equitable funding of public education. 

The Minnesota Legislature has approved an education budget that includes the largest single increase in the per-pupil formula in 15 years. The Minnesota Senate passed the budget bill early Wednesday evening with unanimous support.

“This budget contains the single largest increase in the per-pupil funding in more than a decade, preserves thousands of pre-K seats and makes a wise, strategic investment in increasing the number of Minnesota’s teachers of color,” Specht said. “We are disappointed by the lack of certain equity provisions supported by educators, but this budget is a meaningful step toward fully funding public education.” 

“This would not have happened without hundreds of educators sharing their stories with legislators about what their students need to succeed,” Specht said, adding that more than 700 educators met with over 100 lawmakers in the 2021 session as part of the union’s lobby day program. “Educators live the reality of underfunded schools that have few resources to support student learning. Many shared their fears about what would happen to public schools if hundreds of millions of dollars were siphoned off into vouchers for private schools.” 

Also Wednesday, Gov. Walz revealed his plans for spending $132 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds from the American Rescue Plan. The governor’s plan includes targeted spending toward reducing the state’s racial opportunity gaps that was mostly missing from the Legislature’s education budget.  

The governor’s line items include increased spending on full-service community schools, layers of student support services, mentoring for new teachers, expanding non-exclusionary systems of discipline, and providing training in trauma-informed teaching for teachers and paraprofessionals. 

“Many provisions of the governor’s Due North education plan were left out of the Legislature’s education budget, but he was able to pay for them with federal COVID-19 relief money,” Specht said. “The Due North plan put the success of all students, no exceptions, first. The governor’s spending decisions will give more students the support and learning environments they need to pursue their dreams. Educators look forward to putting all these new resources to good use.” 

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.

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