SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Senator Heather Gustafson (DFL—Vadnais Heights) said that the Senate Education Finance budget omnibus will improve the learning experience for Minnesota’s students and make historic investments in the state’s public education system.
“As a teacher and parent, I’m proud of the historic investments we’re making in our students and public schools,” said Senator Gustafson, the Vice Chair of the Senate Education Finance Committee. “We have funding in this budget for mental health support, school counselors, and a special education cross-subsidy increase that we’ve never seen before. We have English Language Learners funding, the READ Act, after school learning, early learning resources, and programs to recruit and train teachers. These investments will make a meaningful difference for our students and schools, and in the coming weeks I will continue to push for these investments to be signed into law.”
Senator Gustafson pressed for six key provisions that were included in the omnibus:
- General Fund Formula Increase — Sen. Gustafson pushed for historic increases in the general education funding formula, ultimately achieving a 4% increase in FY 2024 and a 5% increase in FY 2025. This is the biggest increase in the general education funding formula in at least 20 years.
- Special Education Cross Subsidy — $653 million to help cover unfunded federal mandates and reduce special education cross subsidies.
- English Language Learner Cross Subsidy — $79 million to help cover unfunded federal mandates for English Language Learner cross subsidies, which will free up school general funds for use in other vital areas.
- School Mental Health Leads (SF 449) — Establishes a Mental Health Liaison position at the Department of Education to assist schools with student and staff mental health needs.
- Certified Deaf Interpreters (SF 295) — Specifies that schools will have interpreters with the experience and certification necessary to provide deaf and hard of hearing students the comprehension they need. This answers the call of deaf and hard of hearing students and advocates who pushed for better resources in classrooms.
- Funding for Math Corps (SF 392) — Provides funding for the highly-successful Math Corps program, which provides additional resources and personnel to support students struggling with math.
The Senate Education Finance budget omnibus (HF 2497) passed on a vote of 35-32. All DFL Senators and one Republican Senator voted yes; 32 Republican Senators voted no.
Photos courtesy of Senate Media. Photo 1: Senator Gustafson testifies on her certified deaf interpreters legislation alongside Nic Zapko, ASL interpreter for Governor Tim Walz. Photo 2: Senator Gustafson speaks on the Senate floor.
Watch Senator Gustafson’s floor speech here: https://youtu.be/QBiRSNpxfac