To the Editor:
Seeing children in our community head back to the classroom causes us to reflect on different things. As former teachers, it brings up the excitement and anticipation we always feel at the start of the school year and it reminds us how valuable a quality education can be. As your representatives at the Capitol, we think of the education compromise passed this year. We agreed to the largest per-pupil investment in over a decade. We would like to thank the school administrators, teachers, parents, and students who worked so hard to make K-12 education funding a top priority during the legislative session. As a result, our local school districts will see significant increases in state aid. Over the next two years Robbinsdale will get $11.4 million more, Osseo will see an $18.2 million increase, and Hopkins will receive and additional $6.4 million. In addition, the state is dedicating money for gifted and talented programs for the first time.
While the numbers are obviously the most important part, they don't tell the whole story. The increased investments present an opportunity to make education a top priority at the Capitol once again. While the new money for education helped districts stave off budget cuts this year, many previously cut positions and programs won't be restored. The reason Minnesota has so many good paying jobs is because of previous investments in education. The education compromise was a good first step towards reaffirming that commitment. We can no longer afford to act only when our schools become desperate.
If there had not been positive support from the community, we wouldn't have been able to pass as large an education investment as we did. It will take your continued support in the years to come to make sure our schools remain a top priority at the Capitol. I know that we can work together to ensure education is no longer ignored.
Representative Lyndon Carlson
Representative Sandra Peterson