House, Senate reach tentative agreement on K-12 budget bill

House and Senate negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a K-12 education budget bill, but they're not yet ready for the final votes that would send the measure to Gov. Mark Dayton.

The $14 billion bill represents about 40 percent of state spending, but Republicans spent most of their time resolving disagreements over policy provisions, not money. They removed a pay freeze for public school employees but kept a ban on teacher strikes.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said the bill has a lot of common ground with the governor.

"We both agree that we should provide awards to school districts that are high performing, and acknowledge them," Garofalo said. "We both believe very strongly in teacher effectiveness and having part of the teacher effectiveness measurement be tied back into student achievement."

Garofalo said they will continue that dialogue with the governor's office and was confident they'd crafted a strong and good bill.

Dayton acknowledged the conference committee's progress, but he said the education bill still has several objectionable policy provisions.

"Progress is progress, and I hope that ... we'll have a reasonable resolution to the different positions we have," Dayton said. "Everybody in Minnesota will benefit from our getting that resolution."

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