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Saint Paul, Minnesota – More than one hundred parents, teachers, school administrators, and kids flooded the State Capitol today to urge legislators to vote against a Republican education budget that will force teacher layoffs and larger classroom sizes. Later today, House Republicans will take up their “Leave All Kids Behind” Act, an education budget bill that provides our schools less than a 1 percent increase.
“For weeks, we have heard from parents, teachers, and school administrators from across the state about the teacher layoffs and budget cuts that the Republican education budget would mean for their schools,” said House DFL Leader Paul Thissen. “With a $2 billion surplus it is inexcusable to lay off teachers and ignore the needs of our youngest learners. We have the opportunity this session to pave the way for a brighter future for Minnesota’s kids – from our earliest learners to college students. Our kids should be our top priority- not corporate special interests.”
Several teachers and school officials spoke at the rally about the impact the Republican budget would have on the kids in their classrooms including, Doug Werner, a high school civics teacher in Minneapolis, Emily Berquist, a special education teacher in Roseville, and Jane Berenz, Superintendent of ISD #196 Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan.
Despite a $2 billion surplus, House Republicans are poised to pass an education bill today that will significantly shortchange schools, so they can provide over $2 billion in tax breaks.
In fact, they are providing $15 in tax breaks for every $1 they are investing in Minnesota schools, giving schools less than a 1 percent increase. Their plan also shortchanges our earliest learners. Tens of thousands of 4 year olds would lack access to quality early learning programs under the Republican plan.
“We have a choice this session, adequately fund our kids or cut taxes for corporations,” said Thissen. “Governor Dayton has made education his top priority and it should be the top priority of this legislature as well.”
Yesterday, House DFL legislators introduced an alternate plan that would invest about $800 million in E-12 education. The plan would adequately fund Minnesota schools, phase in all-day pre-K education for Minnesota’s 4 year olds, address rural disparities, and fund Minnesota’s successful teacher development program.
House Republicans are expected to take up their “Leave All Kids Behind” Act at 1:00 p.m.
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