Walz, DFL propose billions in new spending to ‘fully fund’ education

Minnesota Democrats who vowed on the campaign trail to "fully fund" public education are now revealing what that looks like: billions of dollars in new spending for schools to

keep up with inflation and pay for costly special education and English learner services. Gov. Tim Walz and Democratic legislators are seeking to use their newfound control

of state government to make the state's largest-ever investment in public schools. They have a $17.6 billion budget surplus to tap and no Republican majorities standing in their

way. "My messages to families, to students, to teachers, to support staff is, 'This is the budget for many of us who taught for decades, this is the budget we're waiting

for. This is the transformational moment that can happen,'" Walz said last week at a St. Paul Spanish immersion school. Walz is proposing a more than $700 million general

funding boost for public schools over the next two years and to permanently tie annual increases to inflation. The governor's office estimates that the inflationary increases

would amount to a nearly $1.5 billion funding hike over fiscal years 2026-2027. His plan would spend another $722 million over the next two years to help school districts

pay for special education services, and about $200 million a year for schools to offer free meals to all students. The governor's priorities largely align with those of the

DFL-controlled House and Senate, which are pitching similar proposals — although some legislators have said they want to spend more than Walz proposed for special education.

Republican state lawmakers are already criticizing the cost and scope of Democrats' spending plans.