ST. PAUL, Minn. — On Monday, Education Policy Committee Chair Senator Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie) and Education Finance Committee Chair Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton) ushered three education bills that will provide Minnesota schools with unprecedented funding, support teachers and families, and help students become informed, capable citizens, to passage on the Senate floor.
The education finance omnibus HF 2497 (Kunesh) passed 35-32, the education policy omnibus SF 1311 (Cwodzinski) passed 36-31, and the early education omnibus HF 2292 (Kunesh) passed 43-24.
The senators release the following statement on the bills’ passage:
“As educators with nearly 60 years of experience between us, we built this legislation based on the stories and expertise of the students, teachers, administrators, and other leaders in education who spoke before our committees this session. These bills will invest in schools like never before, with historic increases in the per-pupil formula and funding for special education, student support staff, and teacher training. Our objective is to prepare Minnesota’s students to become full participants in our communities, democracy, and economy through personal finance and civics education. Our policy and budget allocations will ensure that our educators reflect the diversity of our state and encourage all our students, especially students of color, to enter the teaching profession. We do this by providing our students the support they need to succeed in their academic careers, whether that’s through mental health systems, advice from a school counselor, or having basic needs met, such as no-cost meals and accessible menstrual hygiene products.
“Our goal as committee chairs, chief authors, and as former educators has always been to uplift Minnesota’s schools, educators, and families so that every student—regardless of their race, ZIP code, or income—can succeed in education and in life. We were disappointed by our Republican colleagues’ decisions to attack the provisions in these bills that uplift students of color and immigrant communities through amendments that attempted to erode investments in vital education programs. Attempts to whitewash provisions that provide all Minnesota students a robust knowledge of their own histories through ethnic studies and American Indian education are especially disheartening.
“Despite these attempts to hollow out the education finance and policy bills, we are extremely proud of this legislation and its potential for landmark investment in our schools, educators, and students. We are grateful to our colleagues who helped shepherd these bills to passage, and we look forward to their continued progress to Governor Walz’s desk.”
All three bills will move to conference committees for resolution with the bills passed by the House.