The Minnesota Senate advanced the omnibus education budget bill Thursday on a vote of 37-29. The bill, SF 960, has one of the lowest education budget targets in recent budget cycles and for the first time in decades doesn’t include an increase in the basic funding formula. It also includes an expensive voucher proposal and closure of the Perpich Center for the Arts.
In response, Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), ranking DFL-Lead on the Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee, released the following statement:
“Today’s education omnibus bill provides an important start to funding that will bring more teachers of color into our classrooms, and increases funding for community education and libraries. However, it falls far short of the transformative opportunity to deliver the high-quality education that every student in our state deserves.
“Despite what my colleagues in the majority are saying, this does not fully fund our schools. This bill takes hundreds of millions of dollars out of public schools and shifts them towards private vouchers, and does nothing to help address the learning loss from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the funding shortfalls, this bill contains policy that will lead to worse outcomes for students and that targets the trans youth of Minnesota. I hope to work with the conference committee in the Senate and the House to remove these dangerous policy measures and to increase funding for our public schools and students.”