Posted at: 05/19/2013 9:29 PM
Updated at: 05/19/2013 9:42 PM
By: Jay Kolls

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Public Schools Get Big Boost in Minn. Education Bill

Lawmakers passed a $15.7-billion spending package for public schools and Governor Dayton is expected to sign it.

The spending bill increases spending for schools by a half-billion dollars from the last legislative budget two years ago.

This two-year budget cycle will see $133 million spent on all-day kindergarten for nearly 60-thousand students across Minnesota beginning in the fall of 2014.

It also includes $40 million for early childhood education programs. And, it includes some lofty goals for students.

Representative Paul Marquart, (DFL) Dilworth, carried the bill in the House and says his goal is to "see a 100-percent graduation rate for students entering all-day kindergarten by the time they leave high school in 2027." 

But, there are some opponents of all-day kindergarten who don't see it as necessary. State Senator, David Thompson, (R) Lakeville, tells KSTP there are other states that have had all-day kindergarten for quite some time and have not "shown any real improvements in student performance over the long  run."

Senator Thompson says he thinks the $133 million could have been spent on things more important than all-day kindergarten.

The Education Bill also freezes tuition for the next two years for students in the state's university system.

It also eliminates requirements for testing to graduate from Minnesota high schools. Students will no only have to successfully complete the required courses through high school to earn a diploma.