Both Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and the Senate announced  on Friday new funding targets for the next two years. The House majority GOP is expected to announce its target later Monday morning. All targets address uses of the $1.65 billion state surplus announced in the February forecast. Learn more about the surplus.

Governor’s Priorities

Gov. Dayton proposes adding $200 million more to the budget reserve to address his primary goal of long-term fiscal balance in the state’s budget. The only area he’s looking at adding significant new money is Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK). Dayton wants another $100 million on top of his current request for a $75 million to expand the VPK program.

That brings his education target to $705 million of new funding for education.  He’s also proposed $73 million to improve the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) program.  Learn more.  Download the spreadsheet.

Senate Plan

The Senate majority GOP’s target for new education funding is $300 million. While this is a start, the Senate’s target has a ways to go to adequately provide for the state’s E-12 needs. For a sense of scale, 2 percent and 2 percent on the formula will take $371 million in new funding. Learn more about the GOP target.

Senate leaders on Monday recommended a 2 percent increase on the basic education funding formula for the next two years with the presentation of  SF 1556 to the Senate E-12 Finance Committee. Learn more.

Many members of the committee, on both sides, as well as several school groups testified in support of the bill. They acknowledged that it is not be enough to catch up with inflation and funding levels experience in the 1990s.

What’s Next

Once the House GOP announces its target, the starting positions for negotiations will be set. MREA is very supportive of the Governor’s $705 million target and investment in education.