Legislature Approves Education Funding Bills
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A midnight deadline for the Minnesota Legislature to approve a new two-year budget is bearing down on lawmakers, who could see their stay in St. Paul extended by a rift over preschool.
Working through the night, the GOP-led House voted along party lines early Monday for a $17 billion education plan with $400 million in new school spending. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton says he'll veto the bill because it leaves out money for a preschool expansion initiative at the core of his agenda.
It's all part of a two-year $42 billion state budget that a split-power Legislature struggled to pull together.
Legislative leaders insist they'll finish by the deadline. But an education veto — or any others in the budget — would lead to a special session in coming weeks.
The Legislature has also passed a bill funding public universities that school officials say will result in tuition increases.
The budget passed in the House and Senate Sunday bumps up higher education funding by $166 million. That sum falls short of what the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system requested to extend tuition freezes at all their schools.
Several lawmakers say it's wrong to give more money to the state college system than to the University of Minnesota. Some two-year schools in the state college system may see a tuition cut.
The budget also earmarks $30 million for the University of Minnesota's medical school.
It's the first bill lawmakers have sent to Gov. Mark Dayton as they rush to pass a budget before Monday's midnight deadline.