Advocating for 5&5: SF 448

MREA Meets with Key Legislative Leaders

Last week the Senate Education Finance committee reviewed SF 448, the bill to fund 5&5 on the formula and to link it to a range of CPI inflation in the future.

MREA Executive Director, Bob Indihar, testified in support of the bill, noting the inflationary pressures that schools face and the benefits this funding would provide to Minnesota students.

MREA has been actively lobbying for 5&5 and ensuring legislators see that the multitude of proposed mandates will negate the benefits of 5&5 before existing district budget concerns are met.

Indihar and MREA’s Advocacy Team met with House Speaker Melissa Hortman and House Majority Leader Jamie Long last week, making a pitch for a truly historic budget increase for public education. Hortman and Long agree, of course, but also want to push some of the mandates forward, although they didn’t specify which ones. MREA pushed for 5&5 and the need for an inflation factor built into the formula. They agreed on that as well.

At the end of last week, MREA met with Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan. They made it clear that universal meals is a priority and that they have our backs on funding, including compensatory dollars. Walz noted that 4&2 is a floor and that he’s insistent on getting an inflationary factor added to the formula. MREA pushed the idea that 4&2 is too low and that 5&5 will barely cut it against the proposed mandates. MREA also reminded the Governor that nearly 100 Minnesota school districts do not have voter approved operating levy revenue and are dependent on state aid. The Governor made clear that his door is open to us, and that he’s committed to a truly historic education bill for not only this budget cycle, but the next one too.