The Democrat-controlled Minnesota House last night (Wed) passed a bill that would use over three billion dollars of the state’s budget surplus for E-12 education through 2025. Mendota Heights Democrat Ruth Richardson says the bill makes important investments in student mental health and special education, and she says, “I’m voting for a bold literacy plan and culturally-responsive literacy, evidence-based programming for our students.” Austin Republican Patricia Mueller responded, “Out of a one-billion-dollar education supplemental bill, five million is for literacy.” Republicans say the bill builds an education bureaucracy but does little to improve students’ performance in basic academic areas.
Democrats say the bill makes long-overdue investments in children: “For 40 years we have said, we just don’t have the money. We just can’t do it.” But Minneapolis Democrat Jim Davnie says with a huge budget surplus, the state now has the resources. Little Falls Republican Ron Kresha responds it’s not a *Minnesota* public school bill — it’s a Minneapolis and Saint Paul funding bill, where the districts made huge concessions to teachers unions. “Following this three-week strike that denied children 14 days of instruction, the Minneapolis School District is on the hook for nearly 80 million dollars…. And luck would have it, this bill provides Minneapolis with about 80 million dollars over the next two years and beyond,” Kresha says.