Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) introduced legislation Thursday increasing support to students who have been impacted by COVID-19. The legislation (S.F. 64) is co-authored by Senator Mary Kunesh, Senator Steve Cwodzinski, Senator Jason Isaacson, and Senator Karla Bigham, and is being carried by Representative Hodan Hassan (H.F.4) in the House.
“This bill provides $60 million dollars in critical funding for wrap-around supports to ensure that our students receive more support and more opportunities, not less, because of COVID-19. It provides a boost to programs that our parents, students, and teachers depend on,” said Senator Wiger. “This type of bill is exactly what the legislature should be focusing on to provide schools with support to serve the students that face learning losses and service cuts to ensure they don’t fall through the cracks.”
The legislation will provide much needed assistance to students throughout the state and to the currently stressed education system by providing support to expand Full-Service Community Schools that provide wrap around services to schools and their communities, enhanced Reading and Math Corps programs for tutoring services, and expanded After School and Summer School programs. The bill also includes a provision to help schools that face funding cuts based on declining enrollment and adjust special education requirements to help provide services to students.
Minnesota’s elementary schools are re-opening to students next week, with phased-in re-opening plans occurring into early February.
“We all want our schools to re-open,” Sen. Wiger said. “But we need a plan to do that safely and to ensure that students and staff are protected from the virus. Proactive steps as outlined in the Safe Schools Plan will help us out Minnesota schools on better footing for everyone.”
Minnesota schools are also slated to receive $588 million from the second federal stimulus package passed by Congress last money. Details on the funding are still being worked out for Minnesota schools.
“The federal funding will dovetail well with the funding proposed in the state’s COVID package,” Sen. Wiger noted. “Together we can combat learning loss and the mental health and nutrition issues our students face.”
Due to the ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19, the Minnesota Senate is currently operating under a remote hearing system which are available for viewing at this link: https://www.senate.mn/media/media_coming_up.html. Senator Wiger encourages interested citizens and stakeholders to follow along and watch these hearings, as well as to contact their legislators in support of the proposal.