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.

12/30/2004

Taxes are being raised. Good governance demanded.

Not in Bloomington

Education Minnesota President Judy Schaubach was right in her comment that Minnesota needs to consider a "sustainable and predictable" source of revenue for schools to keep up with inflation (Star Tribune, Dec. 12).

However, her statement "Today, in Bloomington, there are kids sitting on the floor in science labs because of overcrowding" was not accurate.

Citizens of Bloomington ensured their schools have first-rate science labs through the sale of local bonds for school renovations. Also, in the past four years citizens supported two local levies raising operating revenues to ensure students are not in overcrowded classrooms, and have highly qualified teachers and necessary supplies.

However, during the same time, our citizens have seen their local efforts compromised by the state's failure to adequately fund its fiscal takeover of school funding.

School finance is complicated. There are many different opinions as to how it should be addressed. There seems to be universal agreement, though, beginning with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, that continued flat funding for schools will not support the excellent, nation-leading system of schools that Minnesotans have built and supported.

When lawmakers gather on Jan. 4, citizens in Bloomington and throughout the state should expect serious, bipartisan discussion and action in support of students and local schools. In addition, any funding resulting from these discussions should be devoid of political agendas, thus allowing educators to do the job that local citizens want and appreciate.

Gary Prest, superintendent,

Bloomington Public Schools.