Updated: May 24
The Minnesota Senate passed a spending package for K-12 education Wednesday morning, marking a major increase to the tune of $2.2 billion in support for teachers, administration and students across the state.
The bill increases support for special needs and English classes, as well as providing more funding for the Increase Teachers of Color Act, which seeks to close the racial education gap. In 2022, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment found that only 31% of Black children read at proficient levels, compared to 51% of white children. It also provides $65 million in funding for schools to hire mental health professionals and counselors.
It increases the per pupil formula funding to account for inflation. It also includes funding to supply each school with the synthetic drug naloxone to battle an ongoing fentanyl epidemic.
Finally, the bill adds some graduation requirements, including the senior class of 2028 needing to pass a course in government and citizenship and a course in personal finance.
The bill is heading to Walz’s desk, who campaigned on the promise to support Minnesota students. Earlier this year, he and the DFL-controlled legislature passed a bill to provide every student in the state free school lunches.