The 2022 legislative session has settled in as committees continue to hear bills and begin the work of putting a supplemental budget together. Committees have been busy the last two months reviewing the governor’s budget and policy recommendations and hearing bills in their respective bodies highlighting their legislative priorities. While members have been busy with committee work, the governor, house, and senate leadership have been trying to resolve two big issues -replenishment of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and providing additional pay for frontline workers.
In early January, Governor Walz released his E-12 budget recommendation. Overall, the governor recommended an additional $789 million in FY23 and $1.712 billion in FY24-25 for the E-12 budget. Highlights include a 2 percent per-pupil formula increase, reducing the special education and ELL cross-subsidies, universal free meals, funding to address student mental health needs, and expansion of public PreK programs.
Over the next few weeks, the house and senate will move forward with their respective budget bills. However, the process in the senate is a little murky. Because the senate is prioritizing ongoing tax relief, it is not clear if or when they will move any budget bills. Should the senate move anything forward, we expect them to include some priority items — education savings accounts, vouchers for special education students, funding for Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training, and funding for safe schools revenue.
The house will advance a budget bill, but details are not yet known. However, the House Education Finance Committee has heard many bills aligned with MASA’s legislative platform. So far, the committee has heard bills to fully fund the special education and English learner revenue cross-subsidies, tie the formula to inflation, provide declining pupil revenue, and a bill to provide equalization aid, among many others.
The House Education Policy Committee recently advanced an omnibus policy education policy bill. MASA supports some of the provisions such as allowing school districts to serve their students through online learning without going through the MDE approval process and additional flexibility to provide e-learning during a crisis. However, there are several items of concern — new graduation requirements, more reporting requirements for World’s Best Workforce, changing teacher probationary status, and additional prep time requirements.
The Senate Education Finance and Policy Committee is unlikely to advance a stand-alone omnibus policy bill, but it may include some policy provisions, such as the “Parents Bill of Rights,” in any budget bill should one move forward.
The legislature and the governor are unlikely to agree to a supplemental budget until the last days of the session so we will continue to advocate for you. Your work to connect with your local elected officials enhances this work and we greatly appreciate your efforts!