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Education Minnesota calls on Legislature to invest budget surplus in educators

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Feb. 29, 2024 – Reversing the ongoing shortage of educators in Minnesota’s public education systems should remain a top priority for the 2024 Legislature as lawmakers consider how to spend a $3.7 billion budget surplus forecasted on Thursday, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.

“From kindergarten to college campus, Minnesota’s educators are being burned out covering for open jobs that can’t be filled at current compensation levels and working conditions,” Specht said. “We’re asking lawmakers to dedicate this boost in projected funds toward making these jobs more attractive, with higher pay, reduced workloads, more affordable health insurance and significant pension reform. Minnesota’s students and educators deserve better than the current learning and working conditions at many sites.” 

The Minnesota Management and Budget Office predicted a $3.7 billion surplus in the current biennium, up $1.3 billion from November projections. Growth is expected to persist through FY27, improving structural budgetary balance. This boost in the budget projection comes in large part as a result of larger corporate profits.

Despite historic new investments in public education during the 2023 session of the Legislature, many E-12 school boards and superintendents have made lowball offers in the current round of contract negotiations. Often, these offers have been lower than the rate of inflation and the spiking costs of health insurance. Minnesota’s teacher pension system does not provide the necessary incentives to keep veteran educators in the classroom and requires major investments by the state government to pay for reforms.

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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