Governor Dayton recently released his budget for the State of Minnesota. On Tuesday, January 27th the Commissioner of Education provided superintendents in the state with a summary of how the budget may impact education. This blog will highlight the information and will provide an initial synopsis of how this may impact the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Public School District. We are still early in this legislative session and the Governor's budget may look different when an omnibus bill is passed and signed by the Governor.
Governor Dayton has proposed a 1% increase each year to the per pupil funding formula over the course of the two years in the upcoming biennium. This would raise the per pupil funding formula from $5,831 per pupil in 2015 to $5,948 in 2017. Although two percent over two years is appreciated, it is not enough. The Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Public School District needs more money added to the formula to continue our pursuit of excellence.
Presently Minnesota is facing a teacher shortage. In order for us to attract future college graduates to our profession and to keep those here committed, we need to be able to provide a competitive compensation package. A two percent increase is not enough to attract folks to the education profession and to keep those here committed. Iowa has recognized this need and their senate recently approved a four percent increase for each of the next two years for education. You can read this approval by clicking here.
Governor Dayton proposed $109 million over the next biennium to expand public pre-kindergarten education statewide. We know early education positively impacts student achievement as pointed out in this article. However, there are unique challenges when opportunities such as this arise. We will have a need for additional space and teachers. JWP has made some changes to the building structure to accomodate potential additions. However, it is difficult to find preschool teachers and our state has rigorous expectations to be licensed. If this is to pass, we need additional facilities funding and alternative pathways for teacher licensure.
19.4 million has been allocated to eliminate the Head Start waiting list. At first blush our district is not on this waiting list and would not benefit from this additional funding. Instead of eliminating the waiting list, we would prefer this money be dispersed to districts for facilities use so that we can expand early childhood programming.
Governor Dayton has proposed 28.1 million to pay for breakfast for PreK-3rd grade students. It is without doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, for the JWP school district, this is not necessarily a priority. Many of our students have a nutritious breakfast before they arrive at school. Families also have an opportunity at free or reduced meal prices for breakfast and lunch from the federal government and some from our state government. Funding for breakfast may not be necessary for our district.
In closing, Governor Dayton has been and continues to be an advocate for education. His budget has the absolute best intentions for students in mind. However, we believe his allocation of financial resources can be distributed differently.
It is my job to continually advocate for the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Public School District. On Wednesday, February 18, 2015 I will be in St. Paul advocating for our specific needs. I have the following schedule in place to meet with legislative leaders working to provide for the students of Minnesota.
|9:00 AM||Rep. Mary Murphy||State Office Building - 343||Cassandra||651.296.2676||Education Finance DFL Lead|
|9:15 AM||Rep. Peggy Bennett||State Office Building - 507||Nick W.||651.296.8216||Education Innovation Policy Vice Chair|
|10:00 AM||Rep. Ron Kresha||State Office Building - 531||Lisa||651.296.4247||Education Finance Vice Chair|
|12:00 PM||Rep. Jenifer Loon||State Office Building - 449||Tim Smith||651.296.7449||Education Finance Chair|
|12:15 PM||Rep. Sondra Erickson||State Office Building - 479||Ethan||651.296.6746||Education Innovation Policy Chair|
|1:00 PM||Sen. Charles Wiger & Sen. Alice Johnson||Capitol Building - 205||Katelyn Snyder/Marie||651.296.6820/2556||Education Committee Chair & Vice Chair|
|1:15 PM||Lunch||Capitol Basement|
|2:00 PM||Sen. Julie Rosen/Rep. Cornish||State Office Building STE155 139||Jessica/Simon||651.296.5713/4240||Local Senator - District 23 and Local Rep.|
|2:30 PM||Sen. Sean Nienow||State Office Building - 105||Andy||651.296.5419||Education Committee Ranking Minority Member|
|3:30 PM||Rep. Mariani||State Office Building - 203||Jamal||651.296.9714||Education Innovation Vice Chair DFL Lead|
As always, if you have any questions, please contact me directly via the contact information below.
With Highest Regards,
Bill Adams, Superintendent