(St. Paul, MN)- The Senate Education Finance Omnibus bill passed the Senate on a 39-28 vote today with several provisions championed by Senator Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield). Throughout his time in the legislature, Sen. Dahle has been a strong advocate for schools, especially rural schools that are too often at a disadvantage.
One of the major sections of the omnibus is taken from Sen. Dahle’s bill to put rural school buildings on equal footing with larger suburban and metro schools. Under current state law, 25 of the state’s largest school districts are able to access a separate pool of resources. Sen. Dahle’s initiative would provide simplified, equitable, long-term maintenance funding for all schools districts statewide, allowing rural schools to finally address much-needed repairs and updates.
“We can keep throwing money down a hole or we can make some real reforms, which is what this bill does,” said Sen. Dahle. “All of our districts are facing problems with aging buildings; they should all be able to respond to them so all schools are safe and clean for students, not just the largest ones.”
The Senate also approved Sen. Dahle’s measure to establish a grant for “Ignite Afterschool,” a program which provides before or after-school services to K-12 students. $1 million would help to build young people’s capacity to be productive adults, and develop the skills and behaviors necessary to succeed after high school.
“Ignite Afterschool has been shown to dramatically narrow the achievement gap, and supports student success,” said Sen. Dahle. “As a teacher and a parent, I know just how important after school enrichment is to so many families. If we’re going to get these programs to the kids who need them the most, this funding needs to be approved this year.”
For more information, contact Bryan Wells at 651-296-5561.