Minnesota GOP and DFL nearly a billion dollars apart on education spending

Education spending — on public schools from preschool to postsecondary — accounts for $22 billion of the state’s current two-year, $45.5 billion budget. Minnesota school districts, colleges and universities educate more than 1 million students each year.

In a state with one of the nation’s most persistent academic achievement gaps for students of color, state lawmakers generally agree that improving public schools is key to Minnesota’s future success and economic prosperity.

The scene at Stillwater High School this week was a familiar one: a bipartisan group of lawmakers touring the school and visiting classrooms to highlight unique programs and hear directly from students and teachers about the best ways to improve schools.

“We are in agreement on the outcomes,” Gov. Tim Walz said. “How we get there is a fair and debatable part of our process.”

Nearly every year there are big differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to how much new taxpayer money should be dedicated to education.

This is year is no different. That gap is almost a billion dollars.

• House Democrats are proposing as much as $1.2 billion in new spending.

• Senate Republicans have offered a $307 million increase.

• Walz has proposed

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