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At the capitol, a push for childcare and special education funding

Advocacy groups want to tap into the more than $9 billion state budget surplus, and are planning a rally to appeal to lawmakers on Monday.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Two separate advocacy efforts are underway at the Minnesota State Capitol Monday, both focused on early childhood.

Advocacy groups are calling Monday "A Day Without Childcare" to show just how many people depend on this service to get to their jobs.

The national movement is asking for living wages for childcare providers, equity in the childcare system and affordable childcare for all families. 

Across Minnesota, providers, teachers, and advocates will wear purple to highlight the role childcare workers have played in keeping the state open during the pandemic. They are calling for some of the state's historic $9.25 billion budget surplus to be put into childcare.

Also happening Monday, education organizations are holding a press conference urging lawmakers to give more funding to special education.

A bill passed by the DFL-controlled House includes special education funding. The legislation sets aside $475 million across the next three years for mental health, plus $1.4 billion to help subsidize special education services that school districts are federally mandated to provide. An additional $170 million will go towards Early Childhood education. 

The version in the Republican-controlled Senate also passed, but it's focused on helping students improve reading skills, and much of the debate focused on efforts not included in the House version of the bill.

The Senate and House education bills will be sent to a conference committee, where members will try to work out the differences.

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