The Legislature passed a $182 million supplemental budget before the midnight deadline that included funding for early learning and several provisions requested by rural education interests.
The biggest piece of the E-12 pie is inclusion of a general education pre-K program with $25 million awarded in fiscal year ’17 to districts who apply and and meet certain criteria. A minimum of 350 hours of instruction, 10:1 staff and 20:1 licensed staff ratios are included. Districts with higher levels of free and reduced students will receive first priority for these limited funds.
Another $12.1 million will also go toward student support services grants. The state will underwrite the cost of these staff, but the state share will fade over six years.
The Northwest Regional Partnership received $3 million that can be spent over the next three years. The Partnership was created as a response to the Higher Learning Commission mandate that concurrent enrollment teachers have 18 graduate content credits if they’re to teach that same subject for college credit.
Other key funding allotments include:
- $4.9 million to expand the metro level of equity revenue to greater Minnesota school districts.
- $4.5 million to Intermediate and Cooperative entities serving level 4 students for staff development.
- $2 million for toward teacher loan forgiveness
- $900,000 for mobile lab cooperative effort in western Minnesota