The biggest news at the Capitol this week was the newly revised February budget forecast, revealing an approximately $9.3 billion budget surplus for the state. While this updated information from the Minnesota Management and Budget Office reflects the latest available data, it cannot predict the future. With a still unpredictable pandemic and escalating disruptions from the effects of war in Ukraine, this situation could change, increasing the need for wise policy choices in this year’s session.
One of the areas most in need of additional short and long-term support is education, where Senate Republicans have made it clear they will focus on priorities that are out of step with Minnesotans. Instead of addressing the needs of our students, parents, and teachers, the Senate Majority passed the first piece of their education package late in the week – a divisive and unnecessary bill adding burdens to our teachers and administrators while ignoring what is necessary to help students and support parents.
One of the highest priorities for Senate DFLers this year is addressing the real needs of our students, parents, and teachers who have faced incredible disruptions over the last two years. Strong public schools are key to our state’s long-term economic and social success. It’s clear that this type of legislation is not only unnecessary but takes away from using our time to address Minnesota’s needs.
That’s why we’re pushing to put more money into the per-pupil formula for public school funding and reducing class sizes, addressing the special education cross-subsidy, investing in student mental health and school counselors to help students and families who have been impacted by the pandemic, and investing in teacher and staff recruitment and retention. With less time for our legislative work, we will continue to fight for solutions that deliver.