Minnesota’s public schools get a two-percent increase in state funding, under an E-12 education budget bill the legislature gave final approval to Thursday night, per the agreement between Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leaders. Democratic Senator John Marty from Roseville warns of teacher layoffs even with a bump in state funding. Marty adds, “I have not heard anybody from the D-F-L or the Republican Party say, best way to improve education is lay off teachers and increase class sizes.” Republican Representative Jenifer Loon responds the increase in her bill is the largest in over 12 years. Loon says, “I can’t make any guarantees about each individual school district…, but there should not be massive layoffs with a $371-million increase, and that’s just the money for the [education] formula funding.”
The bill also provides 50 million dollars for a pre-school program called School Readiness Plus targeted toward those needing extra help. Governor Dayton was pushing to expand pre-kindergarten programs in Minnesota but compromised with Republicans on a modified approach.