$12 billion funding package which would go toward childcare and schools

KEYC News Now at 6 Recording
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 7:00 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Governor Tim Walz has announced a $12 billion funding package which would go toward childcare and schools.

Walz wants a piece of the surplus budget will be going towards education, child care and child tax credits, which was a major theme of his reelection campaign.

“We’re making significant new investments in student mental health, and we’re going to be providing one of the first states in the nation to provide universal meals for all of our children. No student will ever enter a school again and worry about being hungry. We’ll make sure in Minnesota that we take care of that,” explained Walz.

Southern Minnesota lawmakers say they can agree on the school system, but some still have questions.

“Probably the biggest concern that we have is how this funding gets allocated. We see a huge disparity in southern Minnesota in rural Minnesota in our schools as compared to our metropolitan schools that receive massive amounts of funding,” explained Rep. Bjorn Olson (R).

The Walz proposal would add 4% to the per-pupil school funding formula this year and another 2% the following year.

Republican lawmakers say that doesn’t seem consistent.

“When you’re talking about education, building a new gym, building a new playground, building a new building that’s one-time money that lasts a really long time. But when you’re talking about hiring new teachers, that’s money that needs to be reoccurring because the worst thing you could do is hire a teacher and then fire them next year because you have no money to do so,” said Rep. Olson.

Under this plan, families making under $200,000 with one child could receive up to $4,000 a year for childcare costs. For those families with two children they could see up to $8,000 and with three children could see up to $10,500.

“This budget will tackle and eliminate child poverty, put money into families pockets and fund our schools,” said Walz.

“The question then is how does that happen? How do we do it?” asked Olson.