Minnesota legislators adjourned around 7 am Saturday after 21-hour Special Session that approved $543 million in new funding for E-12 schools, support to freeze the growing Special Education cross-subsidy and a bump to the Ag2School tax credit for farmers on school facility facility bonds.
Both the Omnibus Education and Tax bills gained significant support in the House and the Senate and now are on to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature to be enacted into law. Gov. Walz worked closely with Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and House Speaker Melissa Hortman leading up to the Special Session to agree upon plans in each of the key areas.
Minnesota faced a divided government this legislative session with democrats holding the House and Republicans holding the Senate.
The Omnibus Education Bill passed 112-13 in the House and 67-0 in the Senate to provide Minnesota schools with $543 million in new funding in FY 20-21 and $720 million in FY 22-23. The Omnibus Tax Bill passed 74-54 in the House and 52-15 in the Senate.
Here’s a look at some key outcomes for Greater Minnesota schools:
- Formula: 2% on the General Education Formula each of the next two years of the biennium. This amounts to an increase of $126 per pupil in FY ’20 to $6,438 per adjusted pupil unit (APU) and an increase of $129 per pupil in FY ’21 to $6,567 per adjusted pupil unit (APU).
- Special Education: $91 million to freeze the cross-subsidy in FY 20-21 and $142 million for FY 22-23 and reduce paperwork
- Voluntary PreK: $47 million to maintain the 4,000 seats in FY 20-21 and $2.5 million for 10% prior year payment in FY 22-23.
- Safe Schools: $30 million in one-time funding for safe schools grants appropriation, contingent upon closing balance for FY 19 exceeding February forecast estimated closing balance
- CTE: Maintain and expand funding for rural Career & Technical Education (CTE) consortia
- Concurrent Enrollment: Maintain state support for concurrent enrollment credentialing
- Ag2School: Tax credit for farmers on school facility bonds increases from 40 percent to 50 percent in FY 20 with additional increases up to 70 percent in the fourth year. Effective beginning with property taxes payable in 2020 and is not contingent on future budget performance, under current law.
- Tier 2 Equalization: Equalization factor for operating referendums increases from $510,000 to $567,000 beginning in fiscal year 2021. This lowers the referendum levy by about $10 million per year. Effective for revenue for fiscal year 2021 and later.
- Broadband: $40 million Border-to-Border Broadband grants