ST. PAUL, MN - With the first month behind them, thousands of students across the state are settling into their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year. Governor Dayton visited Duluth today, meeting with kindergarten students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary.
Since 2011, the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $895 million in schools. This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota's youngest learners will benefit from free all-day kindergarten, while others will benefit from high-impact initiatives designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.
"As Minnesota's students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year," said Governor Dayton. "During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will improve academic achievement and prepare our students for future success."
Governor Dayton visits with all-day kindergarten students at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth
Investments in E-12 Education
These historic investments, and other important reforms, will ensure Minnesota students receive a world-class education and are fully prepared for success in school, college and career. Below are some of the initiatives that will benefit all Minnesota students:
More Funding for Every School
- After a decade of stagnant funding and budget cuts, Governor Dayton reinvested in our schools. In fact, the Governor increased the school funding formula by $371 million since 2011, providing more funding for every school in the state. These new funds, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in other new E-12 investments, have totaled $895 million since 2011.
Paying Back the School Shift
- Governor Dayton and the DFL Legislature repaid all the $2.8 billion that was previously borrowed from our schools.
Early Learning Scholarships
- Over the last four years, Governor Dayton has invested nearly $50 million in early learning scholarships that will help 9,000 low- and middle-income students attend quality child care and preschool programs statewide.
- The Governor invested in all-day kindergarten beginning this school year, ensuring every Minnesota student has access, free of charge. Previously, some families were paying as much as $2,500 to $4,000 to send their kids to all-day kindergarten programs.
Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)
- Governor Dayton invested in ECFE, allowing more families with young children the opportunity to learn and grow together.
Special Education Reform
- The Governor invested in special education reforms that provide better support for special education teachers, eliminate unnecessary paperwork, and created an online system to better-track student data to help kids succeed.
- Governor Dayton invested in school nutrition programs, providing free breakfast for all Kindergartners, and helping ensure no child is denied a healthy lunch in school.
- The Governor invested nearly $157 million to ensure all Minnesota students are reading well by 3rd grade, and to provide one-on-one reading tutoring for kids.
English Language Learning
- Governor Dayton invested in English Language Learning programs, providing school districts the flexibility and funding to help every child prepare for success in school.
Teacher and Principal Evaluations
- New teacher and principal evaluation systems enacted by the Governor will provide ongoing feedback and professional support to educators to ensure that Minnesota has great teachers in every classroom and great leaders in every school.
Safe and Supportive Schools Act
- Governor Dayton strengthened protections against the threat of bullying in Minnesota schools. The new Safe and Supportive Schools Act provides local districts the guidance, support, and flexibility to adopt clear and enforceable school policies to help protect all children from bullying, and to reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect in our schools.