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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dan Wolgamott (DFL)

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House Education Finance Committee hears legislation on funding the Special Education Cross-Subsidy, Full-Service Community Schools

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Education Finance Committee held a hearing on House File 18, authored by Rep. Dan Wolgamott (DFL - St. Cloud), which would fully fund Minnesota’s special education cross-subsidy, and House File 21, authored by Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL - Brooklyn Center), which would fund full-service community schools. 

“One of the many reasons I'm proud to be a St. Cloud 742 parent is because our district is a regional leader in providing special education services. Unfortunately, the state of Minnesota owes our school district $14 million per year in unfunded special education mandates - and that’s just St. Cloud,” said Rep. Wolgamott. “Passing this legislation and closing the special education cross-subsidy will ensure our special education students can reach their fullest potential, and that all of our students have the opportunities and support they need to succeed.”

Special Education services in Minnesota are under-funded by an estimated $780 million per year. When Congress initially passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) they committed to cover 40% of costs associated with Special Education, but they have never come close to meeting that commitment. Regardless, Minnesota school districts would still be short an estimated $128 million per year - the state’s share of the cross-subsidy. House File 18 would increase a school district’s annual cross-subsidy aid from 6.43% of their initial cross-subsidy to 100%.

“Throughout the last few years, we have heard of the staffing shortages and the needs we must meet for our students in our education system. Full-service community schools incorporate community partnerships to address out-of-school barriers to learning,” said Rep. Vang. “My community of Brooklyn Center is a pioneer in this model and provides the wrap-around services for students to be successful in the classroom. It’s vital we support and invest in these schools to support our students.”

House File 21, would provide comprehensive support and funding for full-service community schools in Minnesota. A full-service community school incorporates aspects of early childhood services and academic support and enrichment activities including an extended school calendar, career counseling and internship opportunities, parent involvement and leadership, mental and physical health support, community involvement, and service learning.

“House DFLers believe that all of our children deserve a world-class education, no matter where they live in our state,” said House Education Finance Chair Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins). “We are working for our students and their families, to fully invest in them where they are at. That includes the needs they bring into school with them. The full service community schools model is an evidence-based approach to do just that.”

Both bills were laid over for possible inclusion in a later Education Finance bill. More information on today’s hearing can be found on the House Education Finance Committee webpage. Live video of today’s hearing will be available on the House Public information YouTube Channel.