E-12 Education investments will improve student achievement, make additional investments in early learning
Governor Dayton visits with students at Westview Elementary in Apple Valley.
ST. PAUL, MN - During the 2015 Legislative Session, Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature made important new investments in E-12 education. Many of those new investments take effect today, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The $525 million investment enacted this year will increase funding for every Minnesota classroom, improve early learning opportunities, improve literacy, and provide needed new resources for American Indian education and English language learners. New school funding enacted this session is directed toward strategies proven to help close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and improve career and college readiness.
"This year, we made important new investments in education that will improve educational opportunities for students across Minnesota," said Governor Dayton. "We have a lot more work to do to close achievement gaps in Minnesota, and provide excellent educations for every student. I will remain fiercely committed to that important work in the years ahead."
"We have made significant progress in our work to provide an excellent education to every child in Minnesota," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "The investments in our youngest learners, in our American Indian students and in our students learning English will help us to further reduce achievement gaps and prepare kids for career and college."
The following is a summary of new education investments made this session, and the impact those investments will have on Minnesota students, families, and teachers.
Investing in Early Learning
Expanding Early Learning Scholarships - Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested an additional $48 million in early learning scholarships this session, bringing total funding for the FY16-17 biennium to $104 million. These funds will allow low-income families in all Minnesota counties with young children to access high quality early education and care. The Governor and Legislature also invested $3.5 million in the Parent Aware initiative, which will allow the Quality Rating System to continue to add providers.
Expanding Access to Head Start - Head Start promotes school readiness for low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional developments, and by providing their families health, educational, nutritional, and other services. Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $10 million in Head Start this session, providing access to an additional 1,200 young learners.
Investing in Community Partnerships - The Governor and Legislature invested $4 million in community partnerships that will provide wrap-around services to families and children in the Northside Achievement Zone and Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood. Both programs partner with families and the community to permanently close achievement gaps.
Investing in K-12 Schools
More Funding for Every School - Governor Dayton and the Legislature increased the basic per pupil funding formula by $346 million over the next two years, bringing the formula to $6,067 per pupil by 2017. This new funding will help ensure every Minnesota child receives an excellent education, and the support they need to succeed in school.
Helping Kids Read - The Minnesota Reading Corps connects trained tutors with students who are struggling with their literacy skills. This session, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested an additional $3.5 million in the program, helping expand the program to serve 2,500 more students.
Reducing Testing Time - Governor Dayton and the Legislature placed limits on the amount of time students are required to spend on testing in school. Schools may now spend no more than 10 hours per school year testing students in grades 1 through 6 on districtwide or school-wide assessments. For students in grades 7 through 12, the limit is 11 hours. A district may exceed this limit if an agreement is reached with its teachers to do so, and public notice is provided.
Improving School Facilities - The Governor and Legislature invested $32 million to help school districts statewide provide important maintenance to classrooms and other school facilities.
Investing in American Indian Students and English Language Learners
Helping American Indian Students - Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $17.5 million this session in schools that serve American Indian students, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. This new funding will help eligible schools develop plans to support academic achievement, decrease the dropout rate, and improve the school climate for American Indian students. This historic investment will benefit over 19,000 American Indian students across Minnesota.
Supporting English Language Learners - There are over 68,000 students in Minnesota for whom English is not their first language. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature extended the number of years schools can serve these students from 5 to 6 years. This year, the Governor and Legislature invested $3 million to extend those services to a total of 7 years per student - giving them the educations and support they need to succeed in school and life.