Originally published on May 31, 3013
After a decade of cuts to Minnesota schools, the Senate passed $485 million in new spending for education, investing in our future. As chief author, this legislation ensures that we will have a workforce prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. The major investments of the bill include fully funding optional all-day every day kindergarten, adding 1.5% to the basic formula allowance for each of the next two years, funding $40 million in early childhood scholarships for low income families, and adding $40 million to special education. The bill also includes targeted investments to address the opportunity and achievement gap. It contains funding for additional career and technical programs, improves student safety through additional safe school aid and expands adult learning opportunities.
There are two major policy initiatives in the education bill I carried. The first, would increase the compulsory age of attendance from 16 to 17. Keeping students in the classroom is critically important to improving our graduation rate. More than 14,000 students did not graduate from high school in 2011, resulting in more than $2 billion in lost lifetime earnings. The other policy initiative I introduced would allow schools to keep and administer epinephrine to students. With more and more children being diagnosed with allergies, I feel it is important for schools to have the option to keep possible life-saving medication on hand.