Unlike a number of Great Lakes states, Minnesota is actually wrestling with a $2 billion surplus. So as much as a 4 percent funding increase for every school district in the state is not just pie in the sky. Indeed, Gov. Pawlenty, a Republican, said its an essential component of the state's economic development strategy.
"We're blessed with fantastic educators, engaged parents, and above average students," the governor said in his speech delivered earlier today, "but nation-leading in student performance isn't good enough anymore. Our students need to be world-leading."
Gov. Pawlenty also called on the state Legislature to pass a comprehensive renewable energy plan to speed the nation's independence of foreign oil and spark economic development opportunities for rural Minnesota.