This week in the Education Finance committee, we had the chance to examine details of the Democrats bill that sets funding levels for the 2014-2015 biennium.
In the proposal, Democrats propose a $209 per-pupil funding increase which will cost over $300 million dollars. They also want $150 million dollars to partially fund all-day kindergarten for students statewide. School districts that provide all-day kindergarten would only receive some of the funding needed, adding forcing schools to either shift costs away from other parts of their budget or increase class sizes.
I believe we need to leave it up to school districts as to whether or not they should provide all-day kindergarten. What works for a school in Minneapolis may not work for a school in a rural district like ours. These unfunded mandates have consequences that could have unintended detrimental effects.
One proposal in the bill that has received bipartisan praise is the funding for early-learning childhood scholarships which allow low-income parents flexibility in making education choices about what school is best for their children. This program was piloted by Republicans in 2011, and a step in the right direction for school-choice advocates. I'm pleased to see the Democrats following our lead on such an important issue.
Town Hall Meeting
I will be hosting a town hall meeting tomorrow with fellow District 18 legislators Sen. Scott Newman and Rep. Dean Urdahl tomorrow, Saturday, April 13th at the Hutch Cafe in Hutchinson. I hope you will consider attending.
Saturday, April 13th
122 Main Street South
Have a great weekend,