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Growing Opportunities for Minnesota Kids and Families in Every Minnesota County

2/8/2017 10:38:18 AM

Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota would create better opportunities for Minnesota children and families, at home and at school
The Governor’s Opportunity Agenda invests in strategies to give every kid a great start in life, create shared prosperity for Minnesota families in communities across our state
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today detailed his proposal to grow opportunities for Minnesota kids and families across our state, as part of his Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota. Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda would provide better K-12 and early learning opportunities for students across Minnesota, and support Minnesota families caring for their kids at home and in childcare.
The opportunity to succeed in life and create jobs in our economy is built on a world-class education. That is why Governor Dayton is committed to improving educational opportunities for every family, everywhere in Minnesota.

“My budget would continue making the investments our state needs to create better opportunities for Minnesota children and families,” said Governor Dayton. “It would deliver excellent educations for all our students, starting with our youngest learners. It would support strong families at home and in child care, giving more kids the great starts they need in school and life.”
“Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda would bring over $1.3 million in essential investments for Marshall Area students, schools, and families, and countless others across the state” said Marshall Schools Superintendent Scott Monson. “Good education is the foundation for better opportunities and successful kids, communities, and economies across our state. I encourage legislators to take up Governor Dayton’s proposed education investments this session.”
“I applaud Governor Dayton for proposing $186 million to help raise healthy kids at home and in childcare,” said Nancy Jost, Early Childhood Coordinator with the West Central Initiative. “Accessing the best opportunities our state has to offer starts with a strong foundation. These investments will help more kids and families succeed across Minnesota.”
Below, see how Governor Dayton’s budget would support K-12 students and schools, early education and childcare options, and a strong start for future learners at home.
Essential Support for Minnesota Students and Schools
When Governor Dayton took office in 2011, he pledged to increase its investments in Minnesota’s students every year he was Governor – no excuses, no exceptions. Since 2011, Governor Dayton has kept that promise, working with the Minnesota Legislature to invest $1.5 billion in E-12 education. This session, the Governor’s budget would continue that progress, investing an additional $609 million in E-12 education, bringing the Governor’s total investment in E-12 education to $2.1 billion.
  • More Funding for Every Student, Everywhere in Our State – Governor Dayton’s budget would increase per pupil funding by two percent in each of the next two years for Minnesota’s K-12 public schools. These increases would invest an additional $371 million in all Minnesota public school districts, everywhere in Minnesota.
  •  CLICK HERE to see how much new funding your school district would receive under Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda.
  • Investing in Aging Classrooms – All Minnesota students need a world-class education, no matter where they live. But in school districts without high-value land, the burden of paying for modern schools can fall disproportionately on just a few businesses, farms, and homeowners. That is why the Governor’s budget would invest $62 million over four years to help school districts repay school bond levies without overly-burdening farmers, businesses, and other private property owners.
  • CLICK HERE to see how much your school district would receive to improve aging classrooms and facilities under Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda.
  • Special Education – Every student deserves an excellent education, including young Minnesotans with disabilities and special needs. The Governor’s budget would invest $40 million in special education to deliver on that promise, and help school districts across Minnesota provide excellent educations for all students.
  • Student Support Staff and Counselors – Governor Dayton’s budget includes $4 million to increase the number of school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses in public schools. Last year, $12.1 million was provided for matching grants to 37 school districts to increase student support staff and counselors, but there was more demand than that funding could provide. The funding in this year’s budget proposal would help fund the districts that did not receive funding last year.
Expanding Early Education Opportunities
Governor Dayton’s budget would expand early education opportunities to more Minnesota families, to ensure that every student has the same chance at a strong start, everywhere in our state.
  • Voluntary PreK – Last year, Governor Dayton secured $25 million to begin voluntary pre-Kindergarten in 74 school districts. This session, the Governor’s Opportunity Agenda would invest $75 million in voluntary preK to expand early learning opportunities for thousands more Minnesota families. Governor Dayton’s Budget would also continue funding for early learning scholarships.
  • CLICK HERE to see which schools received voluntary preK funding and which did not under the $25 million the Governor secured last year.
  • Continuing Early Learning Scholarships – Minnesota has made significant investments in early learning and voluntary preschool to work towards narrowing achievement gaps. In fact, more than 25,800 early learning scholarships have been funded by Governor Dayton and the Legislature over the last five years to provide more early learners access to preschool statewide. The Governor’s Budget would continue to invest in scholarships, while allowing more Minnesota school districts the opportunity to offer voluntary preK, would help ensure more at-risk children can access high-quality preschool opportunities even earlier.
  • Expanding Access to Quality Child Care – Governor Dayton’s budget would invest $84 million in the Child Care Assistance Program to expand access to quality childcare and remove red tape for families and childcare providers. These changes will improve care for more than 30,000 Minnesota children from working families and increase access to child care in Greater Minnesota.
  • CLICK HERE to see how children and families would benefit in your county from childcare investments included in Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda.
  • Child Care Tax Credits – The Governor’s budget would invest $61 million in the Child Care Tax Credit, helping 95,000 Minnesota families afford quality childcare, providing $60 million in tax cuts. Another 75,000 families, who were already eligible, would save an additional $379 per year.
Successful Students Start from Strong Foundations
Successful students start from strong foundations, including high quality childcare and programs to support new parents at home.
  • Home Visiting – Minnesota teenagers gave birth to 2,406 babies in 2015. These new parents often lack family support, high school diplomas, and parenting skills. Governor Dayton’s budget would invest $31 million in the Department of Health’s highly effective Home Visiting Program, which helps young parents of at-risk children develop the skills they need to care for their children. The proposal also will improve access to evidence-based home visiting for all high-risk mothers by increasing Medical Assistance payments for these services.
  • CLICK HERE to see how families would benefit in your county from home visiting investments included in Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda.
  • Homework Starts with Home – Approximately 167,000 Minnesota households with children face housing instability. Research shows that homeless and mobile children are more likely to be absent from school, perform worse on math and reading tests, and eventually drop out. Through the Homework Starts with Home program, Governor Dayton’s budget includes $6 million to provide rental assistance to Minnesota families with children to ensure that students have stable housing throughout the school year. Governor Dayton also has proposed a $2 million investment to reduce homelessness for families with children.
  • Full Service Community Schools – Community schools offer great opportunities to children and their families to succeed in school and life. Schools are increasingly responsible for providing support services to students beyond the traditional classroom. The Governor’s budget includes $2 million to give more schools the opportunity to partner with communities to offer health and dental clinics, mental health services, family resource centers, college access information, out-of-school program information, and other family support services around the state.
  • Help Me Grow Initiative – Governor Dayton’s budget invests $3 million in the Help Me Grow initiative, which provides critical child development information to parents and childcare providers. The program helps identify young children with developmental and emotional concerns to connect them with appropriate services, and give them a great start in school and life.
Learn more about Governor Dayton’s Opportunity Agenda and proposed investments in education, children, and families at these links:
·         Governor Dayton’s Budget: An Opportunity Agenda for a Better Minnesota
·         Education: Engine of Opportunity and Success
·         Early Learning: Expanding Early Childhood Access and Choice
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