Time to Hear a Plan for Safety in Our Schools

DFL-Education Lead Senator Chuck Wiger calls for hearing on SF64

Entering the second month of the legislative session, as thousands of students and teachers return to an in-person learning environment, an urgent need remains for additional state support to ensure a safe classroom and investment for stronger support services that can help address the learning crisis facing students. 

With an urgent and immediate need, Senator Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood) released the following statement, urging the Senate E-12 Committee to hold a hearing and advance S.F.64 to address these immediate needs for Minnesota’s students, families, and educators.

“Students, families, and teachers are facing an unprecedented and urgent crisis as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19, which has only magnified underlying issues that have not been fully addressed by our education funding or policy. That’s why I am asking the Senate E-12 Committee to hold a hearing on SF64, a bill to provide our schools and parents with the tools and funding necessary to re-open safely. 

This bill is already on its third committee stop in the House, and has yet to receive any consideration in the Senate. With limited committee time, we must make our priorities clear and hear this bill, move it forward, and get it to the Governor as quickly as possible. Our students, families, and teachers deserve it.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all Minnesotans. To the families of the 6,341 Minnesotans who have died from COVID, we extend our heartfelt sympathies. To the many who have lost income or jobs, we share your pain and applaud you for helping to slow the spread of the devastating virus.

We also applaud the parents, teachers, administrators, cooks, bus drivers and paraprofessionals who have stepped up to help our children this past year. We need to get our children back in their classrooms, but we need to do it safely. 

This is doable if we all work together and focus on what’s really important right now: ending the pandemic and getting Minnesotans back to work and our kids back in school.”

Several urgent areas of need are included in the legislation for Minnesota’s schools, which would provide $60 million over two years and appropriates funds to:

  • Expand Full-Service Community Schools that provide wrap around services to schools and their communities
  • Enhance Reading and Math Corps programs for tutoring services
  • Expand After School and Summer School programs
  • Provide help to schools that face funding cuts based on declining enrollment and adjust special education requirements to help provide services to students

The companion legislation in the House is HF 4, which has bipartisan support and has received two committee hearings. 

Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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