Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Cal Bahr (R)

Back to profile


Thursday, July 30, 2020

East Bethel – Today, Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-31B) made this statement on the announcement by Governor Walz on the contingent opening of Minnesota schools. 

The Governor announced that public schools in Minnesota could reopen if the districts made a plan to contain the COVID 19 epidemic in their school district.

Rep. Bahr said, “I think that you need to understand the Governor’s decision and that it may be “local control” in name only. He’s telling schools that they can resume in-person classes this fall if they follow a set of stringent requirements, and even then, they should expect to be shut down if there is a divergence from those requirements during the school year.”

Bahr continued, “His announcement injects a great deal of uncertainty into the next school year. Parents need to be able to plan; employers need to be able to know what to expect. The answer Walz has given does satisfy any of that; it just pushes that question on to the districts. He couldn’t please everybody, so he passed the buck. But he did so in a way that he still has control over what they can and can’t do.  School Districts remain in the worst position possible. They have little power and all the responsibility.”

“Walz also encouraged parents to “opt-out” of in-person learning even if their school district offers it” said Bahr.   “Districts must provide 100% distance learning even if they choose an in-person or hybrid model.  If they want to offer in-person schooling at all, they must pay all the costs for distance learning anyway” he concluded.

Rep. Bahr also commented that “The Governor chose this approach because he could not satisfy everybody. The teachers union, has stridently argued for keeping the schools closed, and parents, many teachers and school districts all over Minnesota who want children back at school.  If Walz had announced a shutdown, He risked a mass exodus of kids to private schools.”

He summed up by looking forward to the action items for the legislature: “First, If the Governor is genuinely allowing school districts to decide for themselves, we need to make sure he doesn’t try to micromanage them. Secondly, this is the time to be discussing individual funding students, not buildings, bureaucrats, and systems. If parents can choose distance-learning or hybrid or in-person learning for their children, why not have the choices extend more broadly, and the funding follow them completely, not partially?  Choose Freedom.”   

District 31-B covers portions of Anoka County, including East Bethel, Ham Lake, Columbus, and Linwood Township.