Issue Background

Education funding

The future of Minnesota’s students and businesses depend on a strong system of public education, one which gives students all across Minnesota an equal opportunity for success and produces enough educated workers to drive forward our state’s economy.

The foundation of the system rests on well-trained teachers, adequately supported students and ultimately policy makers taking the responsibility to create the conditions in which teaching and learning succeeds or fails.

Investing in smaller class sizes, high-quality training for educators, learning environments where students get the supports they need and competitive compensation packages are key to attracting and retaining great educators.

But Minnesota has failed to make those needed investments and now faces a critical teacher shortage, particularly in greater Minnesota and with teachers of color.

One of the biggest problems is the state’s share of funding schools hasn’t kept pace with inflation—it’s 10 percent less than 2003 in real dollars. Ninety-three percent of Minnesota’s 332 school districts are projected to receive less real per-pupil aid in 2017 than in 2003, according to the North Star Policy Institute.

If Minnesotans truly want to create public schools our students deserve, we must invest state funding so we can:

  • Lower class sizes so teachers can give students more of the individual attention they need and deserve.
  • Create an equitable and sustainable funding stream for the 2011 Teacher Development and  Evaluation law, an unfunded state mandate, to ensure teacher quality.
  • Provide additional resources for school districts to hire more student support staff, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses and other job classifications. Minnesota has one of the country’s worst ratios of counselors to students—one counselor for every 782 students.
  • Expand access to full-service community schools across the state. If we want to have  equitable outcomes for our students we must have equitable opportunities for our children and families, no matter where they live.
  • Increase teacher compensation. The salary and benefits teachers earned in 2015 was  11 percent less than similar college-educated workers, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
  • Make health insurance more affordable, fair and predictable for educators and school employees so they stay in the profession.
  • Make the necessary changes to Minnesota’s public employee pension plans to improve their long-term stability and ensure those workers have sustainable, equitable pensions.


For more information, contact:

• Megan Boldt — 651-292-4818, megan.boldt@edmn.org
• Jodee Buhr — 651-292-4830, jodee.buhr@edmn.org
• Kathi Micheletti — 651-292-4890, kathi.micheletti@edmn.org
• Paul Winkelaar — 651-292-4837, paul.winkelaar@edmn.org

Contact your lawmakers: