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Electric bus movement looks to accelerate; Macron says he has not ruled out using Western troop to help Ukraine stand-up to Russia; two rural Iowa newspapers saved from extinction; BLM announces added protections for sensitive Oregon landscape.

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Speaker Johnson commits to avoiding a government shutdown. Republican Senators call for a trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. And a Democratic Senator aims to ensure protection for IVF nationwide.

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David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

MN Navigates School Funding as Poll Shows Support for More Aid

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Friday, January 27, 2023   

A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling indicates voters want to see more dollars go toward improving public schools.

Gov. Tim Walz's plan calls for boosting the general education funding formula over the next two years and tying it to inflation, while adding more staff such as counselors and social workers.

State Education Commissioner Willie Jett touted the overall proposal during the committee meeting.

"We must never lose sight of the fact that a well-supported educator workforce is fundamental and critical to the survival of our schools, and the well-being and academic success of our students," he said.

Nationally, a new American Federation of Teachers poll found 66% of voters think the government spends too little on education, and nearly 70% want to see more funding. The governor's plan closely aligns with education priorities among legislative Democrats. Republicans, who are in the minority this session, have voiced concerns that too much surplus money would go to underperforming schools.

Minnesota is also looking at boosting unemployment insurance aid to include hourly school workers when they struggle to stay employed over the summer. Rep. Emma Greenman, DFL-Minneapolis, said it's encouraging to see more conversation about helping support staff.

"If your district is like my district," she said, "you're hearing a lot about the staffing shortages, about the need for 'paras' - I hear a lot about that from parents and teachers - about the bus driver shortage."

By "paras," she meant paraprofessionals who help in clasrrooms.

In the AFT poll, teacher shortages and unsafe campus environments were listed as among the most serious problems at schools. The survey was conducted in late December and included input from 1,500 registered voters nationwide.

Disclosure: American Federation of Teachers contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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