Minnesotans for Better Education, Standards and Testing

Minnbest is a non-partisan, broad based coalition of parents, educators and school advocacy groups who believe excellent public education is a foundation of democracy in America.

11/11/2004

Let them hear from YOU!!!!

Senate Majority Leader Dean E. Johnson
208 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
E-mail: sen.dean.johnson@senate.mn
Phone: (651) 296-3826

Education Finance Chair
LeRoy Stumpf
G-24 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
E-mail: sen.leroy.stumpf@senate.mn
Phone: (651) 296-8660


Senators encourage public input at new email address:
schools@senate.mn

The Minnesota Senate is seeking citizen input on public schools. Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and LeRoy Stumpf, Chair of the K-12 Education Budget Division, announce that they have created an e-mail address for Minnesotans to share opinions and possible solutions for funding schools. Amid new reports indicating that schools are not adequately funded, the Senators hope to spark community discussions on the topic. The email address is schools@senate.mn.

Stumpf cited two reports released by the Pawlenty administration indicating that Minnesota fails to adequately fund K-12 schools. The Minnesota Department of Education released a report* projecting that Minnesota is failing to adequately fund schools by $1 billion. This report echoes the findings** released by Governor Pawlenty’s Task Force on Education Finance.

With the information from these reports, Stumpf suggests that discussions revolve around what we expect from schools and the cost of those expectations. “As I see it,” said Stumpf, “we have three choices: significantly change our delivery system so that the current funding can meet our expectations; reduce our expectations that we have for schools by eliminating mandates and limiting curriculum; or fund schools at the level these reports indicate is necessary to meet expectations.”

Johnson and Stumpf believe discussions of how we fund our public schools need to take place at the community level. Johnson said, “This discussion should not simply take place in the legislature but, more so, in our communities, in our churches, at corner cafes, anywhere that people gather. All Minnesotans have a stake in the success of our schools and should have a voice in the discussion. Without these discussions and without action on them, our schools are set up to fail.”

The responses the Senate receives from the public will be compiled in anticipation of the upcoming Legislative Session. The 2005 Session, the first year of the biennium, is used for the major financial planning of the State. School funding is the State’s responsibility and accounts for 41% of the State’s budget. “We look forward to hearing from the public.” Stumpf and Johnson said that they also welcome comments in letter format.


* report available at: http://education.state.mn.us/content/080511.pdf
** report available at: http://education.state.mn.us/html/076440.htm