ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has signed an education package that boosts spending on schools and scales back high-stakes testing.
Dayton and Democratic legislators on Wednesday celebrated the $15.7 billion bill, which is about $485 million more than the state spends now.
Supporters of this bill say it will make life easier for working parents.
A centerpiece is a state commitment to pay for all-day kindergarten programs, eliminating the practice of fee-based programs by the 2014-15 school year.
The new law also adds to the per-pupil formula that determines the amount of state aid schools get. In signing the bill, Dayton said “more money for education doesn’t absolutely guarantee success but less money for education absolutely guarantees failure.”
The bill was approved with very little support from Republicans. It received only five GOP votes in the House and four in the Senate.
Republicans say paying for the education bill with higher taxes isn’t the solution.
“When this budget takes effect, it will be harder for every family and every hardworking taxpayer in this state to make ends meet, send their kids to college and prepare for retirement,” Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, said. “That’s overreach.”
The legislation also reduces the emphasis on graduation exams for high school students, giving them more options to prove their aptitude.
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