Session Daily: Omnibus education finance bill approved during contentious hearing

Session Daily: Omnibus education finance bill approved during contentious hearing

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Rep. Jenifer Loon, chair of the House Education Finance Committee, comments as the committee begins to amend its omnibus bill March 24. (Photo by Paul Battaglia, Session Daily)

By Nick Longworth, Session Daily

Approved as amended by the House Education Finance Committee Friday, the omnibus education finance bill now heads to the House Taxes Committee. Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) sponsors HF 890.

The bill would increase the General Education Basic Formula funding by 1.5 percent over the 2018-19 biennium — nearly $275 million in additional funding — and create an office of early education and development. But it would also delink non-public pupil, compensatory and transportation aid from the funding increase, while defunding statewide voluntary pre-kindergarten programs and closing two schools.

Its companion, SF 718, sponsored by Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester), awaits actions by the Senate E-12 Finance Committee.

“There’s good things in this bill, but relative to where we’re at, it falls short,” Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) said.

Taken as a whole, the bill is a strong candidate to promote lively debate if it reaches the House Floor.

Read the rest at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/sessiondaily/SDView.aspx?StoryID=12728.

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