"This year, the DFL legislature has made the investments necessary to give our kids the quality education they deserve--and the quality education our future depends on. All-day Kindergarten should have happened years ago; we're catching up and we're moving ahead. This is money well spent, and I think Minnesotans will know that and believe it," said Governor Dayton.
This legislative session was highlighted by once in a generation investments in our schools, including our state's first commitment to all-day kindergarten for every child. Minnesota schools will see over $240 million in new funding thanks to the budget agreed to by the Governor and DFL leaders, including millions for early learning, testing reform and special education.
Following today's event, the Governor and legislative leaders will depart to travel the state touting the accomplishments of this legislature.
The budget increases E-12 funding by $485 million, including:
* More Funding For Every School in Minnesota. The budget invests an additional $234 million in the school funding formula, providing schools with an increase in funding in each of the next two years.
* All Day Kindergarten for Every Child. The budget invests $134 million to help Minnesota school districts provide optional All-Day K to every student, free of charge. Currently, only 54% of Minnesota's Kindergarten students have access to free all-day Kindergarten, with thousands of families having to pay out of pocket.
* Reforming the Special Education Formula. The budget invests $40 million in special education reform, providing needed funding reform and greater funding equity for schools.
* Early Learning Scholarships for 8,000 Kids. The budget invests $40 million in scholarships that will help thousands more children attend high quality child care and preschool to ensure that children are prepared for Kindergarten and beyond. Families will be eligible for up to $5,000 in scholarships.
* Repaying our Schools. The budget accelerates repayment of the money that the state borrowed from our schools in previous bienniums.
* Testing Reform to Improve How We Measure Student Achievement. The bill will help move away from punitive testing standards, to help districts implement college and career readiness exams.