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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Feb. 27, 2023 – Education Minnesota called on the state Legislature to seize the opportunity to provide fully funded public schools and colleges to Minnesota families after Minnesota Management and Budget forecasted a $17.5 billion budget surplus for the next biennium.
“This is the year to fix the shortages, expand the policies that work and provide every Minnesota student a world-class education in a school that’s safe, welcoming and effective for everyone – no matter what they look like, where they live, their special needs or where they’re from,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, on Monday.
Specht noted that a large portion of the surplus was left over from the current biennium and the amount of ongoing funding was probably insufficient to meet the needs of working families that have built up during decades of under-investment by the state.
“The state of Minnesota needs to invest billions in public education to address crisis-level shortages of educators and mental health professionals in our schools and colleges,” Specht said. “Pay and benefits must improve from the first day on the job through a dignified retirement if our schools are going to attract and retain great professionals. That can’t be done with one-time money.”
Further, Specht said, Minnesota’s students have needs outside schools, including stable housing, food, affordable healthcare, safe communities, paid leave for their parents and reliable transportation.
“New spending for education and the other parts of the lives of children are vital steps toward achieving the goal Gov. Tim Walz laid out in his inauguration speech when he said he wanted to make Minnesota the best place to raise a family,” Specht said. “Educators look forward to working with the governor and legislators to reject tax cuts for the rich and make sure the wealthiest corporations pay what they truly owe to our communities, so every student has an equal chance to thrive.”
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.