With budget negotiations ongoing, it was announced this week that Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) will co-chair the conference committee for the omnibus E12 education budget bill. Sen. Nelson, chairwoman of the Senate E12 Finance Committee and chief author of the Senate education budget, joins four of her Senate colleagues and five members of the House in working out differences in the bills passed by each body.
“As a former public school educator, business woman, parent, and policymaker, I am a longtime advocate for a world-class education system,” said Sen. Nelson, who co-chairs the conference committee. “With strong bipartisan support, the Senate passed a bill that funds education fairly, but I am hopeful we can leave conference committee with a higher budget target and do more to improve educational opportunities for all students. Minnesota employers, families, students, teachers, and staff are counting on us.”
The $18.5 billion Senate proposal, passed earlier this month, increases education spending by $1.14 billion compared to the previous budget and includes an additional $300 million over the projected base funding. The House proposal spends slightly less money. Conference committees began meeting on Tuesday and will continue until an agreement is reached; the Minnesota Constitution mandates that this year’s legislative session must adjourn by May 22.
“By providing opportunities for all Minnesota students to receive an education that prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow, our children have brighter futures,” Sen. Nelson continued. “At the end of the day, our focus must be on affording students every opportunity for success, getting qualified educators into classrooms more efficiently, and encouraging innovation.”
Sen. Nelson is in her third term representing Senate District 26, which includes students in Byron, Chatfield, Dover-Eyota, Hayfield, Plainview-Elgin Millville, Rochester, Stewartville and St. Charles school districts in Olmsted County. Sen. Nelson, who is a former educator and has a M.E. in teacher leadership, serves as chairwoman of the Senate E12 Finance Committee.