The day before rolling out his state budget plan, Governor Tim Walz today reviews its largest component — K-12 education — with influential members of a special task force including former state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page. But at this early point in the legislative session, school closures from COVID overshadow the debate over a dollar amount for education funding. Republican Senator Carla Nelson from Rochester points to “parents not being able to work because they don’t have their children in school. We have a lost generation, some have said, of these young kids not learning to read.”
A bill sponsored by Nelson would leave the decision on whether students are back in the classroom solely with school boards and community leaders, cancelling the governor’s emergency powers. But Democratic leaders say the state Health Department must still have oversight because risks from the COVID pandemic remain high.