Senate Education Committee Chairs Respond to GOP Education Complaints

ST. PAUL, Minn. — On March 19, Senate Republicans took 30 minutes during committee meeting time, three days ahead of the first legislative deadlines, to air grievances about the 2023 education budget and policy bills.

Education Finance Committee Chair Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton) and Education Policy Committee Chair Senator Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) release the following statement:

“What Republicans call ‘mandates,’ we call education policy. Both parties pass education laws; the difference is the DFL also invests in schools and students. Last year, the Senate DFL majority invested 15 times more in our schools than the last Republican budget and built inflation into future budgets. It’s clear where our respective priorities lie. Rising healthcare costs, declining enrollment, and the expiration of pandemic-era federal support have strained some school district budgets, and the Senate DFL is acting to remedy that.

“The Legislature has expectations for how districts spend education dollars — a total investment of $24.3 billion. That’s simply what fiscal responsibility and good stewardship of taxpayer dollars looks like. And in fact, many of the education investments that our policies direct toward specific programs are initiatives that were supported by Republicans, like evidence-based literacy instruction through the READ Act, transportation sparsity aid, and the special education cross subsidy reduction.

“Our commitment to a quality public education for all students has never wavered, and we will continue to listen to our school districts to provide support where it is most needed. Our goal as committee chairs and as former educators has always been to uplift Minnesota’s public schools, educators, and families so that every student can succeed in education and in life. The legislation we passed last year does that.”

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Senate DFL Media