Hello from St. Paul,
In an attempt to assist struggling children who have been devastated by the stay-at-home impacts of COVID-19, the Minnesota House debated the merits of two separate proposals designed to provide summer school funding to local school districts.
The bills had distinct differences. The House Republican version of the bill would have provided the most efficient and quickest way to get money to schools with the needed flexibility for local control. Unfortunately, that proposal did not move forward because the House majority failed to support it, and it failed by four votes.
Minnesota House Republicans attempted to pass legislation that would defray the costs of in-person summer school learning. $75 million would have gone directly to schools for in person summer learning, $20 million for early learning scholarships; $6 million for school-linked mental health; and $9 million for CARES Act Equity Aid.
House Democrats ultimately approved their own plan. Only 27% of the proposed funding actually goes toward summer programs for K-12 students to address learning loss, and only 36% of the funding in this bill goes directly to schools. Most importantly, significant portions of the funding in this bill have no in-person requirement. It also gives $1 million to the Department of Education, and millions more to grants to be distributed by the department.
Our bill would have provided $86 dollars per pupil versus $36 dollars from the Democrats’ bill. It is critical that we get local school districts the revenue they need to best serve their students. Unfortunately, the House majority plan doesn’t check that box.
Talk to you soon,