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As the Minnesota House of Representatives took up debate on the Omnibus Education Bill (HF 890), State Representative Peggy Flanagan (DFL-St. Louis Park) expressed alarm at the effect the Minnesota Republicans’ omnibus education bill would have on Minnesota’s indigenous students.
“The education bill that passed the House today woefully underfunds our schools, which will almost certainly lead to more crowded classrooms in every corner of the state,” said Rep. Flanagan. “But as one of only a few indigenous women in the state legislature, what concerns me most is that Minnesota Republicans seem to be going out of their way to target Native students.”
Currently, public schools with students who receive free or reduced lunch receive additional “compensatory revenue” on top of their basic education revenue. Through a technical change in this formula and a newly rebranded “Targeted Compensatory Revenue” program, Republicans would slash support to these schools and the low-income students they serve while largely sparing schools with far fewer students from low-income families.
These cuts fall particularly hard on schools with large Native populations. For example, Cass Lake-Bena Public Schools, with 1,086 indigenous students, would lose $29 per pupil under the Republican plan. Red Lake Public Schools, with 1,513 indigenous students, would lose $26 per pupil. And Mahnomen Public Schools, with 535 indigenous students, would lose $26 per pupil.
“Republicans are hoping that the details of this change are too confusing for the general public to understand. But make no mistake: they are intentionally targeting low-income Native students who depend on compensatory revenue to thrive,” said Rep. Flanagan. “At a time when we need to be working together to think of creative ways to close the opportunity gap for indigenous Minnesotans, the Republican plan actually makes things even worse by proposing cuts that land disproportionately on Native students.”
Representative Flanagan spoke out against this bill on the floor of the House today and will ultimately vote against the final legislation.
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