Senate passes $489 million budget bill; includes several Kent provisions
Sen. Kent’s top education priorities all included in Senate budget bill
ST. PAUL, Minn – After hours of debate, the Senate passed a $489 million budget bill on Thursday. The bill includes investments for all areas of the state budget including education, transportation, public safety and others. A majority of Sen. Susan Kent’s (DFL-Woodbury) high priority education-related proposals have been included in the bill. Sen. Kent says she’s proud of the hard work of the Senate, and she’s proud of the DFL caucus for focusing on maintaining fiscal stability in the coming years.
“I have made the issue of getting more school counselors and support staff into schools a top priority for years. As a state we are struggling against a ranking of 46th in the nation for our student-to-counselor ratio. I’m very grateful for the support of this measure that was passed in the budget bill today. I am equally grateful to Governor Dayton for recently including this same $13 million appropriation to school counselors. I remain hopeful that 2016 is the year we finally get more counselors into schools,” said Sen. Kent.
Other Kent bills included in the passage of today’s budget bill include:
- Support our Students: $13 million. This provides grant money to school districts statewide to hire school counselors and other support professionals to alleviate Minnesota’s 750-to-1 counselor to student ratio.
- Reading Corps: $3 million. This money heads to a program to cost-efficiently help more kids reach a critical learning milestone: the ability to read proficiently by third grade.
- Testing transparency: $350,000. Provides parents more information about the tests their children are taking.
- Disaggregated data: $490,000. Calls on MDE to provide detailed information to teachers about how students are performing on tests.
- Physical Education Standards: $553,000. Calls on districts to adopt the Nat. Assoc. of Sport and Physical Education K-12 standards as Minnesota’s academic standards to help students be healthy and learn better.
- Children’s Museum: $300,000. This money will help the museums expand learning opportunities.
- College textbooks: $200,000. Encourages college and university professors to assign open educational resources, in order to potentially save students thousands of dollars over the course of their college careers.