Public education could see a $725 million boost in funding over the next biennium, with a focus on increasing general education funding and added investments to address districts’ special education cross subsidies.
The House Education Finance Committee began its work on the omnibus education finance bill Tuesday with a walkthrough of a proposed delete-all amendment to HF1065. Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls), the committee chair, is the sponsor.
The committee plans to conclude the walkthrough and take member questions and public testimony Wednesday, with amendments and action planned for Thursday. The companion, SF960, awaits action by the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee. Sen. Roger Chamberlain (R-Lino Lakes) is the sponsor.
The bill is comprised of several standalone proposals, as well as elements from the omnibus education policy bill, HF1081, and recommendations from Gov. Tim Walz’s Due North Education Plan.
“This is an early childhood to career investment in the future of Minnesota learners and in the future of Minnesota,” Davnie said.
He added that it aims to provide stable and predictable funding for public schools going forward by appropriating nearly $400 million during the 2022-23 biennium to increase the general education formula by 2% each fiscal year. It would also increase the formula allowance for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 by 0.5% per year. Beginning in fiscal year 2026, it would increase the basic formula allowance by the annual rate of inflation.
Additional significant investments include $70.1 million to reduce school districts’ special education cross-subsidies, $39.1 million to extend the 4,000 voluntary prekindergarten program seats that are set to expire, and $19.4 million to remove a cap on compensatory education revenue earned by schools with high concentrations of students from low-income families.
Seeking to better meet students’ academic and health needs, the bill would provide additional funding to increase the number of school support personnel, and would fund trauma-informed professional development opportunities for educators.
It also would bolster efforts to diversify the teaching workforce, Davnie said.
“We put significant, possibly even historic, investments in recruiting and retaining teachers of color and American Indian teachers,” he said. “Research has shown that increasing and retaining teachers of color and American Indian teachers in classrooms is important for everyone’s achievement.”
Other initiatives that would receive increased appropriations for the 2022-23 biennium include:
Notable policy provisions would:
What’s in the bill?
The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus education finance bill: