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Legislators proud of increased education funding

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With summer wrapping up and the start of the school year around the corner, we wanted to write to talk about education funding in this year’s budget. After years of declining support for schools, we’re proud that this year we made education a priority.

Two years ago, the Republican-led Legislature borrowed a record $2.4 billion from Minnesota schools and voted to cut schools by $44 million. This year, we increased funding for our students and teachers by nearly $485 million to ensure that all students, from our youngest learners to our college students, have a chance to get a quality education.

Our budget provided $40 million for early childhood learning scholarships to help get kids prepared for kindergarten.

For the first time in state history, we will be fully funding all-day kindergarten to help students in every school district across the state to get the same strong start.

Once students get into grades 1-12, they should see smaller class sizes after a $238.2 million increase for the basic funding formula ($158 per student) over the next two years.

Bemidji alone will see an increase of over $3.1 million in the next two years, a 3.1 percent increase over current funding. Cass Lake ($1.1 million, or 4.3 percent), Blackduck ($587,694, or 4.7 percent), and Bagley ($935,727, or 5.1 percent) will also see similar increases.

When those students graduate high school, they’ll have more affordable options across the state after a $250 million increase for higher education. That increase allowed us to freeze tuition at every single two- and four-year public college in Minnesota.

To help make sure everyone can take advantage of that frozen tuition, funding for the state grant program was increased by $75.4 million.

We know not every student is going to go on to a four-year university, or even a two-year program. But these across the board investments will make sure that students at every single level receive the quality education they need to succeed.

Roger Erickson

State Representative, District 2A

Baudette

John Persell

State Representative, District 5A

Bemidji

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