This year Republicans placed a strong emphasis on education. We were able to deliver major funding increases for schools across Minnesota, and schools in our area in particular. I have received a lot of questions from families and parents about what we did for education this year, so I thought some detailed information would be helpful.
Sen. Dan Hall
Overview: This year we invested $18.7 billion into K-12 schools – a $1.3 billion increase from the last budget. Most of this funding will go right to the classrooms, where it can do the most good for students. Education advocates spent much of session pushing for 2 percent annual increases to the per pupil formula, and we fully funded that request.
Local impact: All this new funding means schools in our area will receive significant per pupil funding increases. The following chart has specifics on current year per pupil funding, and what the amount will be for the next two school years.
Early learning: In addition, schools in our area will receive new one-time funding to boost preschool and early learning options next year. Districts receiving funding will be able to use it for the governor’s pre-K program or for a new School Readiness Plus program, which gives parents and schools more flexibility.
Two hundred and twenty three districts and charter schools throughout Minnesota applied for aid, with 59 selected to receive funding.
- Burnsville School District 191 will receive $556,418 to enroll 104 students
- Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan District 196 will receive $326,624 to enroll 46 students
Both districts were already receiving ongoing funding for voluntary pre-K.
Reforms: Funding is important, but it is only one part of the approach. Schools need more flexibility to do what works best for their students. That’s why we focus just as much on reforms as we do on funding. This year we implemented two important changes that give schools more freedom.
- We improved Minnesota’s system of licensing teachers, which has come under scrutiny in recent years. Our improvements will get more highly-qualified, expert teachers into the classroom.
- We modified the procedures for laying off teachers. Until now, when budgets have been tight schools have only considered seniority in their decisions. Republican changes allow districts more flexibility, so young, energetic teachers have a fair shot.