FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2014
Contact: Josh Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-582-8205
ROSEVILLE – Thanks to new education funding enacted by the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton during the 2014 legislative session, Minnesota schools will receive an additional $54 million in new funding this school year.
This new funding will benefit the state’s more than 840,000 students through increased student aid, early learning programs, nutritious breakfast and lunches, and other important measures.
“These new investments are critical for our students to be successful,” said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. “With smart investments in the things that matter, we will be able to tackle our achievement gaps more effectively, help more kids get a great start in their academic career, and better support every student on his or her path to high school graduation and beyond.”
Statewide, $660 million was invested in education from early learning to grade 12 over the last two years. Those new funds are ongoing increases that will continue to provide better resources for Worthington students and teachers into the future. In addition, the state paid back the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from schools, also known as the school shift.
“Over the last two years, we have paid back all the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools, funded 9,000 early learning scholarships, provided access to free full-day kindergarten for every student, and significantly increased funding for every school district in Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “These investments will greatly improve our nation-leading education system, and help provide our students the advantages and opportunities they need to succeed in school, life, and the jobs of tomorrow.”
This year, $23.4 million was added to the education funding formula, benefitting every school district across Minnesota. These new resources will help pay for teachers, facility improvements, equipment, and technology to ensure all Minnesota students have access to a world-class education.
Research shows that early learning programs provide a significant return on investment. A $12 million investment in early learning initiatives will ensure our students get a great start.
Early Learning Scholarships – $4.6 million was invested in early learning scholarships. These funds, along with the $42 million investment from 2013, will provide an additional 850 Minnesota children with scholarships to attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. Over the biennium, this means almost 9,000 children will benefit from the scholarship program.
Early Childhood Family Education – This year, $4.6 million was invested in Early Childhood Family Education, which provides early childhood education for families with children between birth and kindergarten age. In addition to the funding, the bill includes reforms that are designed to ensure Early Childhood Family Education programming gets to the families and parents who need it most.
School Readiness Initiative – Minnesota’s school readiness program helps ensure that all children are prepared to enter kindergarten with the skills and behaviors necessary to be successful in future learning. An additional $1.8 million in funding for the initiative will help prepare more young Minnesotans for school.
This year, $4.9 million was invested to improve the academic success and language skills for Minnesota’s English learners. This new funding coupled with comprehensive policy reforms to the education policy bill will help students master the English language, preparing them to excel in the classroom and beyond.
In January, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid released a report revealing that 46 Minnesota school districts had policies that denied students access to a nutritious lunch, if those students did not have sufficient funds to pay for their meal. An investment of $3.5 million for the school lunch program will ensure that no Minnesota student is denied access to a hot meal at lunchtime. The budget also includes $569,000 to provide breakfast to all 64,000 Minnesota kindergarten students.
The Minnesota Reading Corps is a proven initiative to improve reading ability and comprehension among our students. To help more Minnesota students get the assistance they need to succeed, an additional $1 million was invested in the program.