Minnesota Lawmakers Approve Budget Increase for Education
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Public schools in Minnesota will get $13.8 billion over the next two years, an increase of nearly $800 million over the last two-year budget cycle.
The state’s legislative session wrapped up May 22, and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on May 30 signed the education budget bill that will continue to fund Q Comp, a pay-for-performance program for Minnesota teachers. The bill also funds the creation of regional mathematics and science academies that will provide professional development and training for teachers.
Schools that offer college preparation programs, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, will get $13 million more. Special education will get $329 million in additional funding, and the per-pupil funding formula will rise by 2 percent in 2008 and 1 percent in 2009.
However, Judy Schaubach, the president of Education Minnesota, a merged affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, said schools needed at least a 3 percent increase in per-pupil funding over each of the next two years to keep their heads above water.
The governor vetoed a union-backed bill that would have created a statewide health insurance pool for school employees, keeping costs down.
Vol. 26, Issue 39, Page 16