Noting her legislative commitment to furthering Minnesota’s public education system, Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) was named an “Outstanding Legislator of the Year” by the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA). In particular, Sen. Nelson was recognized for her role as the chief architect of Minnesota’s two-year education budget bill.
“Education is the great equalizer. It is the escalator to equity and it prepares the workforce needed for a thriving economy.” Sen. Nelson said. “Taxpayer dollars must be wisely focused on providing opportunities for all Minnesota students to receive an education that prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow. As a former public school teacher, and now as a legislator, it has been my top priority to do what is in the best interests of our children. Having a thriving state starts with access to quality education.”
“We applaud Sen. Nelson’s thoughtful discourse and her willingness to tackle complex educational and political challenges,” said Grace Keliher, MSBA’s director of government relations. “Her determination to providing Minnesota students with a high-quality education, her commitment to closing the achievement gap, and her willingness to address the state’s teacher shortage is noteworthy.”
In her inaugural stint as chairwoman of the Senate E-12 Finance Committee, Sen. Nelson led the bipartisan passage of a two-year, $18.7 billion state education budget bill. The budget included an additional $1.3 billion in education funding and a 2% increase to the per-pupil general education formula over each of the next two years – a priority of advocacy groups like the MSBA. In addition, the bill included an overhaul of the state’s broken teacher licensure system, restructuring and modernizing the system to bring qualified teachers into the classroom more efficiently and open new pathways for qualified candidates to enter the profession.
“My work here is about putting the needs of our students first, while making sure our teachers and schools have the resources they need to provide a great education,” Sen. Nelson continued. “I will continue to be a passionate advocate for Minnesota’s world-class schools. Working together using proven tools, powerful incentives, and promising innovations, we can achieve better results. We can build on the success of this session and provide an education that prepares our students to be tomorrow’s leaders.”
Sen. Carla Nelson, a former public school teacher with a master’s degree in teacher leadership, is in her third term representing Senate District 26, which includes students in the Byron, Chatfield, Dover-Eyota, Hayfield, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rochester, St. Charles, and Stewartville school districts. She serves as chairwoman of the Senate E-12 Finance Committee.