In this Corner . . . Weighing in at over 450 pages is . . . No, not Andre the Giant, but instead a jumbo-size education budget unveiled today by Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. One great thing about electronic documents is that I won’t have to be lugging around a document this size throughout the session. I don’t know if I can manage a forklift that ably.
The Governor released the highlights of his education budget last week and none of that has changed. Among the highlights are:
- 4% increase in the general education basic formula for the 23-24 school year ($7,138/PU) and an additional 2% for the 24-25 school year ($7,281/PU).
- 50% reduction in the special education cross-subsidy ($328.4 MM in 23-24 and $394.2 MM in 24-25)
- No Cost School Breakfast and School Lunch ($189.9 MM in 23-24 and $198.5 MM in 24-25)
- Maintenance of Existing 4,000 Targeted Voluntary pre-Kindergarten and School Readiness Plus Slots and Considerable Expansion in Next Biennium.
- $90 MM per Year in the base for Early Learning Scholarships.
- Increase in EL formula ($13.5 MM in 23-24 and $15.4 MM in 24-25).
- Base Funding for Student Support Personnel–Counselors, School Social Workers, School Psychologists, School Nurses, and Chemical Dependency Counselors ($24.8 MM in 23-24 amd $28.8 MM in 24-25).
- $35 MM per Year in the base for the BOLD Literacy Plan.
- $163 MM per Year beginning NEXT Biennium for Unemployment Insurance for Certain School Employees (Largely hourly workers–ESPs. Bus Drivers, et. al.).
- $14.7 MM per Year in the base for Paid Student Teaching Opportunities.
- $17.5 MM per Year in the base for Grow Your Own Programs including expansion.
- $20.3 MM per Year in the base for MTSS and COMPASS programs.
- $32 MM one-time money in 23-24 school year to expand competency-based education opportunities.
- $3.2 MM per Year in the base to expand rigorous coursework opportunities.
- $50 MM funding pilot to hold districts harmless for students using PSEO.
- $30 MM in 23-24 school year to expand career and technical education opportunities.
- $1 MM annual increase for expanded Early Childhood Screening.
- $4.4 MM in 23-24 school year and $5.1 MM in the 24-25 school year for special education students placed in Level 4 and above settings. Money in base beyond.
- $4.5 MM in 23-24 school year and $5.1 MM in the 24-25 school year to extend transition age for special education students to 22.
- $573 annually to facilitate change in specific learning disability eligibility criteria.
- $45 MM for 23-24 school year to establish after-school community learning grant program.
- $14.5 MM for 23-24 to expand full-service community schools.
- Increase in Long Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue for 299 districts without unlimited authority. $30.0 MM in 23-24 and $36.5 MM in 24-25. All Aid. Need to see details not in budget document for better description. Money appears to be in base.
- $50 MM in 23-24 to for building and cyber security grant program.
- Expanded but not complete authority for school boards to renew existing operating referendum by board approval.
- Increased investment in State Ed-Fi data collection system.
There are myriad other changes, but mostly are internal to operations at MDE.
It is a massive document and there are some surprises. A number of programs I believed would net greater investment did not, but most of the programs here are ones I expected to have at least some presence in the budget. I have posted a link to the Governor’s budget recommendations for E-12 education. Beware of the table of contents. The page numbers don’t quite line up with the individual budget proposals.
Tuesday Committees. Three of the four education-related committees met today. I have been so engrossed in deciphering the details of the Governor’s budget that I will catch up on that tomorrow.