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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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Minnesota Teachers: Republican Education Plan Will Negatively Impact Our Schools

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SAINT PAUL – Today, educators gathered at the Capitol to share how the Republican E-12 education plan will negatively impact Minnesota schools, particularly the House proposal. DFLers are pushing to fully fund schools despite Republicans' insistence on underfunding.

“With a budget surplus, our top priority should be investing in quality public schools and ensuring all Minnesota children have the opportunity to succeed,” said House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman. “The Republican plan to underfund public schools and cut pre-K is playing politics with our children’s future.”

The House Republican E-12 bill will provide schools an inadequate 1.25% increase for the next two years, when they've indicated 2% is needed to keep up with inflation and avoid cuts.

Debra DeYoung has been teaching biology for 25 years and currently teaches at Mayo High School.

“A lack of increase in our budget will affect the quality science programs we currently offer,” said DeYoung. “Cuts will result in less supplies and less student engagement. We are already over the state code of safety with space and number of students per science classroom.”                                                                          
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Districts across Minnesota are preparing for possible cuts, and working to inform parents and community members about what’s at stake.

Kristi Jo Sanders is a Reading Specialist at Jefferson Elementary in Rochester. At 37 years old, she never thought she’d have to work a second job stocking shelves at a local grocery store to cover her cost of living.

“Let’s face it, our schools are underfunded,” said Sanders. “Teachers are the most important part of any school and undermining them financially is not allowing them to do their best work. Our work matters.”

The Republican plan also eliminates funding for voluntary, free pre-K and includes incentives for private school vouchers –shifting resources away from public schools.

Michelle Dennard works as a Special Education Support Professional in Osseo. She sees resources being shifted away from public schools, and shared how her own children have done better in public school than in private school.

“Private school vouchers don’t help families,” said Dennard. “Private schools can pick and choose who they want in their schools, and there are a lot of hidden costs. My children are much better off in public school.”

“Minnesotans all place a high value on the education of our children, but our school teachers have chosen to make the success of our children their life’s call,” said the DFL Lead on Education Finance, Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Minneapolis). “With this inadequate and irresponsible Republican education budget-- that doesn’t even keep pace with inflation-- we are undercutting the foundation of our future success. Minnesotans, and especially teachers, won’t stand for it.”