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Minnesota House Passes Education Bill

Tuesday evening, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Omnibus E-12 Education Finance and Policy Bill.

Minnetonka and Wayzata Public Schools Each To Gain Additional $6 Million A Year; Hopkins Schools To Gain $4.3 Million

SAINT PAUL, MN – Tuesday evening, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Omnibus E-12 Education Finance and Policy Bill. The bill reverses a decade of disinvestment in education and makes historic investments in strategies proven to close the achievement gap, raise graduation rates, and improve student career and college readiness.

“The house education budget keeps our promise to Minnesota kids and their parents by making new investments and repaying the school shift,” said Rep. Benson (DFL—Minnetonka), who serves on the Education Policy committee. “We know we can’t expect better results by simply adding more money, which is why this bill also implements important reforms.”

The bill also provides significant new revenue for the Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Wayzata school districts, which also includes Plymouth and Woodland. Under the bill, Minnetonka and Wayzata schools each would receive approximately $6 million more, while Hopkins schools would receive an additional $4.3 million during the next two years. The school shift, money the state borrowed from our schools, also will be repaid in full.

“Currently, Minnetonka parents who want their children in all-day kindergarten pay $4,100 per year,” said Rep. Benson. “This bill will save parents thousands of dollars by fully funding kindergarten – ensuring that all Minnesota students will get a great start.”

Included in the education bill is a provision introduced by Rep. Benson, which creates a state grant program to help restore school districts counselors, school nurses, psychologists – all essential student support staff.

Counselors help students navigate their way through school, prepare for college, and careers. Nurses and psychologists play an integral role in our schools by addressing a variety of other issues such as mental health, drug abuse intervention and bullying. This 50-50 state/local grant program will help alleviate shortages of these essential staff.

More on the Education Finance and Policy Bill:
The omnibus education bill increases funding for K-12 schools by four percent – or over $315 million – during the next two years. It also invests in all-day kindergarten and early childhood education; all proven programs to improve test scores, help close the achievement gap and prepare students for future academic and career success.

To develop a world-class workforce, the House education budget implements several critical reforms. Schools are charged with developing strategic local plans for student achievement and to engage and update parents on their children’s early academic progress. The state also will utilize the Minnesota Department of Education’s Regional Centers of Excellence to provide assistance to schools to reach the goal of a quality education for every Minnesota child.

The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 83 to 50, much like the nation-leading Minnesota Miracle, which also passed on a bipartisan vote in 1971. 

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AlPatch April 30, 2013 at 03:03 PM
More administration structure won't close the achievement gap. You have to look at the 39 page Bill summary. Says it all why education is such a mess. The word "Disinvestment" is a poor choice of words since Rep. Selcer said property taxes are up 86% in the past 10 years. I guess that is a Minnesota Miracle? The Bill fails to address the over $12 billion schools have already borrowed and the legislature has done little regarding the $16 billion is unfunded public employee pensions. Rep. Marquardt said in the Pioneer Press, "And 47 percent of our graduates that go on to a MnSCU college (have) to take remedial classes." He also said the current system, "isn't working," according to the article. But, Rep. Benson basically says $4.3 million for Hopkins should take care of it. Let's hold him to that. The DFL missed a major opportunity to fix the system. We clearly have a system that is failing. We need people in office who see that and want to truly reform this system to teach our children about responsibility, opportunity, free enterprise, and respect for others. Minnetonka gets a little short term help. Now, if you want to place your Hopkins kindergarten student in Minnetonka Schools, it's easier. The rich get richer? Of course, how this will be paid for is in limbo as the tried and true responsible financial management concept, spend first, raise a boat load of taxes later, is still in process.

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