Jason Rarick

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Now that school is back in session, I wanted to share a bit more about what we accomplished this year to support K-12 education.

Funding for education

The good news is that whether your child attends college or grade school, the budget we passed this year will make their lives easier.

Funding for K-12 and higher education institutions has always been bipartisan. This year was no different. The Senate worked with the House and the Governor to to make sure students of all ages, locations and income levels have an opportunity to succeed.

The K-12 education bill increased funding by more than $1.25 billion – a total commitment to schools of more than $20 billion! With that level of resources, schools everywhere will have the tools they need to provide a first-class education to your student.

Highlights of the bill:

• Provides 2% annual increases to the per pupil education formula – a top priority of school groups and educators;

• Adds $90 million to help districts cover rising special needs education costs;

•  Improves PSEO opportunities by requiring districts to provide information to students earlier in the year;

• Strengthens instruction and support for students with dyslexia.

I had a great time touring the operating engineers training facility in Hinckley. It was informative to experience the type of hands-on training provided by experienced operators in the heavy equipment apprenticeship program.

Bonding Committee visits

The Senate Capital Investment Committee visited several projects in the area last week. The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) in Duluth, whose coverage area includes Carlton, Cloquet, Scanlon, Thomson and Wrenshall, is requesting funding to design, purchase and install new engine generators that will convert biogas produced during wastewater treatment into electricity and heat that the facility can use.

We then visited Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, and heard about the importance of higher education asset preservation and learned about a water infrastructure improvement project for Twin Lakes Township.

The last stop for me on the tour was to Pine Technical and Community College (PTCC). PTCC plans to construct almost 30,000 square feet of technical and trades laboratories, classrooms and office spaces. The college also hopes to renovate more than 15,000 square feet of existing space for health science programs.

PTCC is such an incredible training ground for high-demand, high-growth technical and trade jobs. Their planned renovations will help them improve access to great careers, expand their visibility and continue to be a statewide leader in workforce development.

I’d like to remind residents that I am always available to answer your questions or concerns. Please email me anytime at sen.jason.rarick@senate.mn or call my office in St. Paul at 651-296-1508.

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