For more information contact: Andrew Wagner 651-296-2809
Some updates from Saint Paul:
K-12 Education Finance Bill
This week in the Education Finance committee, we began to examine the Governor's education bill, HF 630. This bill makes many fiscal changes, including providing $40 million for Full-Day Kindergarten, $125 million more for special education, and $52 more per pupil. Unfortunately, this bill does not pay off the school shift debt owed to our schools until 2017.
The bill also makes many policy changes, including re-purposing integration funding and establishing a new state agency called the "School Climate Center" staffed by a "School Climate Council" that would focus on school safety and preventing bullying. While the intentions of the Center are good, I have concerns about this new agency. The Center will be collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data about bullying incidences at schools across Minnesota, which brings up questions regarding data privacy and usage. I am hoping that the bill will go through the Civil Law committee so these concerns can be addressed. You can read the language for yourself on pages 78-80 of the bill.
I was encouraged by one portion of the Governor's proposal in particular; the Governor provides $44 million dollars for "Early Childhood Education Scholarships." This proposal would give low-income parents flexibility to choose a preschool or prekindergarten program that is best for their children by providing them with scholarships worth up to $4,000 for each eligible child.
As always, I want to hear your thoughts, concerns, and questions on this proposed legislation. You can learn more about the bill and follow its progress by clicking here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF0630&ssn=0&y=2013
OneRosemount Feeding Families
Coming up on Saturday, March 2nd, I will be attending an event for the organization OneRosemount Feeding Families. This organization is a non-profit humanitarian group that helps package and deliver meals to Haitian refugees in the Dominican Republic. Their goal is to package 285,120 meals, and raise money to help fund future efforts.
The event is already at capacity for volunteers for Saturday, March 2nd, but if you are interested in attending the Resource Fair, donating non-perishable food, or volunteering in the future, please visit www.onerosemountfeedingfamilies.com for more information.
District Events and Constituent Visits
Earlier this week, I met with constituents from District 196 seeking support for early childhood education initiatives, such as Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE). According to their website, ECFE is "a program for parents and their children during the years from birth through prekindergarten." To learn more, visit: http://www.district196.org/ec/ECFE.cfm
District 196 will be holding an event on Friday, April 12th with Paul Axtel, the author of the book Ten Powerful Things to Say To Your Kids. The event is from 7-9PM. Tickets are $10 per person or $15 per couple in advance, or $15 per person and $20 per couple at the door. You can find more information or register for the event by visiting: http://www.district196.thatscommunityed.com/courses/ecfe
This morning I had the opportunity to visit with local business owners, Dr. John and Julie Thompson of Advanced Chiropractic of Apple Valley, to discuss their concerns regarding Governor Dayton's proposed tax increases on business services. We also discussed the potential impact of the proposed Health Exchange legislation, HF 5, that is moving through the committee process. To learn more about this bill, visit: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?f=HF5&b=house&y=2013&ssn=0
This afternoon I also had the opportunity to visit Greenleaf Elementary School and be given a tour by Principal Michelle deKam Palmieri. It was a joy to meet many of the students and teachers, and I even had the chance to read "Wemberly Worried" by Kevin Henkes to Mrs. Reller's 2nd grade class!
To see a Youtube video of this story, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtcgR3vD1_c
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts or to set up a visit either at the Capitol or in the district!
Have a great weekend,
State Representative, District 57B
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