ST. PAUL, Minn. – Wednesday morning Senate Education Chair Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) rolled out the Senate’s education budget bill. The $100.5 million dollar bill includes key DFL priorities including $25 million for an expansion of pre-K for Minnesota’s 4-year-olds and $10 million each for solving the state’s teacher shortage crisis and teacher training and development. Other high profile bills include $13 million in 2017 for Qcomp which helps eliminate the cap – bringing more equity to school funding, and $13 million for school counselors. Sen. Wiger says he’s proud of the bill his committee was able to put together in a non-budget year.
“We knew, going into session that a large majority of the DFL Senate supported an expansion of pre-K. I’m really happy that we are continuing to advance this vitally important programing for Minnesota’s youngest learners. Our bill also prioritizes getting more students, including students of color into the teaching profession, teacher training and development, ensuring teacher and student safety, and supporting programs that promote academic success like funding school counselors. This bill truly expands educational opportunities for all Minnesotans,” said Sen. Wiger.
Other key provisions in the bill include:
- Pre-K programming: $25 million (FY18-19 biennium the investment expands, totaling $73 million)
- Teacher shortage: $10 million
- This includes grant money to help paraprofessionals get their teaching license, student teaching grants, American Indian teacher preparation, Concurrent Enrollment and the Collaborative Urban Educator program.
- Teacher training and development: $10 million
- Eliminating the cap on Qcomp: $13 million ( FY18-19 biennium the investment expands, totaling $61 million)
- School counselors: $13 million
- Reading Corps: $3 million
- Generation Connect: $10 million (equals $10/student to help defray costs of technology or facility upgrades in school buildings)