The Governor’s Supplemental Budget focuses 95 percent of the $39 million in ongoing appropriations on early learning and teacher recruitment.
The centerpiece is a $25-million voluntary, formula funded at .6 APU, 350 hours per year PreK program for four year olds. Next in line is a $12 million for teacher recruitment programs for teacher candidates from under-represented populations and para-professionals in high need schools.
Teacher Development and Evaluation (TDE) receives $10 million in one-time FY ’17 funding for school districts, coops and Ed Districts without QComp plans. About 77 percent of Greater Minnesota school districts would receive $341 in FY ’17 per FTE employed as of October 2016.
MREA applauds the Governor for establishing within the voluntary PreK program four pots of funding, one of which is rural schools.
Funding would be allocated to the four pots based on kindergarten enrollment. This assures that interested rural schools have an equal access to starting this voluntary program as will metro school districts.
The Governor also recognized the rural-metro inequity of funding within QComp with his one-time TDE funding.
The proposed funding ($12 million) for the Governor’s two new teacher recruitment programs ‘MN Future Teacher Grant Program’ and ‘Stepping Up for Kids’ is concerning because of their tight targets for recipients and failure to increase the capacity of MnSCU to train more teachers.
In contrast, only $400,000 is appropriated annually for loan forgiveness for teachers in “teacher shortage area meaning the licensure fields and economic development regions reported by the commissioner of education as experiencing a teacher shortage” (MS 136A.1791).
This is why MREA supports SF 2375 (Jensen) to increase the appropriation for loan forgiveness for teacher shortage areas, and bills to create a para-to-teacher program in Southwest Minnesota and an online early learning license program in MnSCU. Learn more.
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