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Rep. Jay McNamar: Education investments will benefit the economy in the future

As our students and teachers return for the start of a new school year, it's important to remember what an important role our schools play in our communities. One way or another, each one of us is impacted by our local schools. That's why, when I came to the Capitol for my first session as a legislator, I made education one of my top priorities.

It turns out, many other members agreed with me. As a result, we were able to pass an education bill that makes schools and teachers a top priority. In total, we invested over $725 million in new money to make sure our students of all ages get the education they need to succeed in the workforce.

At the early childhood level, Minnesota will now be providing scholarships to help low and middle income families send their children to high quality preschools and childcare centers. This will help them get ready for All Day Kindergarten, which we fully funded for the first time in our state's history.

When they're ready to move on to grades 1-12, they'll have smaller class sizes and more resources. After years of cuts, the 17 school districts in our area alone will see over $3 million in new funding over the next two years. That's a three percent increase over current funding.

If those students want to move on to a two- or four-year school, they'll be paying tuition that is frozen for the next two years because of over $250 million in new funding for Minnesota's public colleges and universities.

We made these investments because we know how important it is for our students to receive a good education. From preschool all the way up through college, education prepares our students to get good jobs and build a strong economy. It builds the kind of economy that benefits everyone in Minnesota.

But if we want Minnesota's economy to thrive tomorrow, we need to make investments in education today. That's why I'm so happy with the education bills we passed this year. Not only will students and teachers benefit from it this year, our economy will benefit for years to come.