Legislation was introduced this week to support students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill will help schools provide programs to help parents, students, and teachers bridge the learning loss created by school closures prompted to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The bill, which has already been introduced in the House of Representatives, will cost roughly $60 million over two years and appropriate funds to:
- Expand full-service community schools that provide wrap-around services to schools and their communities
- Enhance reading and math corps programs for tutoring services
- Expand 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 schools are also slated to receive $588 million from the second federal stimulus package passed by Congress last month. Details on the funding are still being worked out for Minnesota schools. Those funds can be used for technology, learning loss, mental health initiatives, and cleaning protections in schools.
Minnesota elementary schools are slated to open next week. The E-12 Education Committee has discussed the Minnesota Department of Education’s Safe Learning Plan with committee members and heard from parents; committee members have asserted repeatedly their desire to have schools re-open for in-person learning.
Unfortunately, the E-12 Education Chair has not introduced any education-related bill and only one education bill has been introduced by a Republican member, unrelated to school reopening or any other serious plan to help schools. All other bills designed to help schools re-open have been introduced by DFL senators. (SF 64)