Minnesota House of Representatives


State Representative JoAnn Ward

231 State Office BuildingState Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information contact: Susie Merthan 651-296-2955

Posted: Jul 12 2013 3:30PM
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Local Issues, School Funding and Town hall Meeting Information

Dear neighbors,
The Gateway Corridor Commission is looking for community members for the Gateway Transitway Community Advisory Committee.  If you’re interested, you can find more information here:
The deadline for applications is June 19. 
According to their website, Gateway Corridor transit would run from Union Depot in St. Paul to Woodbury next to Interstate 94 mainly on Hudson Road. All-day transit service would stop at 11 stations and would include connections to Minneapolis and Hudson, WI. Light rail or bus rapid transit is being considered and the system could be operational by 2022. Gateway will provide a focal point for more concentrated development as the region grows. The work is led by the Gateway Corridor Commission, which is comprised of local elected officials, business and community leaders.
Crosswinds School Update
This week, the East Metro Integration District (EMID) approved a plan for the Perpich Center to manage the Crosswinds school in Woodbury.  This means that the school, which faced permanent closure, will remain open to serve its students.  I am pleased that this has been resolved.  You can read the full story here:
Minnesota Schools to Receive $463 million
This week, Minnesota Management and Budget announced that the state has $463 million in unaccounted revenue collected during the past budget cycle.  As a result of action by the Minnesota Legislature this session, that money will go to Minnesota schools in an effort to pay back the money borrowed from schools by the previous legislature.
One of the reasons I ran for office was to put an end to these irresponsible accounting shifts and to pay back the money owed to schools.  Borrowing is no way to provide a world-class education to our kids, which is vitally important to our state’s future.  By keeping our priorities focused this session, we were able to accelerate the repayment of this money to schools and will fully repay them by 2014.  Minnesota Management and Budget will certify the final amount schools will be paid back by September 30th.
The state has previously borrowed from schools to patch up budget deficits. The 2011 Budget borrowed $2.4 billion from schools while leaving an additional deficit for the current legislature to address. Instead of adding to the “IOU”, we passed a budget that resolved the deficit without borrowing and with a plan to pay back what our schools are owed sooner.
Accelerating the school payback is a key piece of the historic education investments that we made this session.  Other highlights include:
  • Increased Funding for Every Student in Minnesota: The budget increases school funding per student, providing schools with an increase in funding in each of the next two years.  This will help our local schools to plan and pay for all of their expenses, including utilities, building and maintenance costs in addition to classroom costs and teacher salaries.
  • All Day Kindergarten for Every Child: The budget allows Minnesota school districts to provide optional All-Day K to every student, free of charge. Currently, only 54 percent of Minnesota’s Kindergarten students have access to free all-day Kindergarten, with thousands of families, including many in the east metro, having to pay out of pocket.
  • Early Learning Scholarships: The budget invests in scholarships that will help thousands more children attend high quality child care and preschool to ensure that children are prepared for Kindergarten and beyond.  A quality education starts early, and this type of access will improve test scores and achievement later in life.
Town Hall Meeting Tomorrow
Please join me for a meeting tomorrow to discuss the 2013 legislative session and what issues may come up next year. 
When:  Saturday, July 13, 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Where:  Woodbury City Hall, Ash & Birch Room (8301 Valley Creek Rd)
If you have any questions about this information or other issues, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I appreciate hearing from you.
JoAnn Ward

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